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Judge Felix E. Allejj 

PRICE $2.50 

"Having been privileged to read in man- 
uscript form the component chapters of 
Judge Felix E. Alley's incomparable book, 
I feel safe in predicting that it will soon 
become one of North Carolina's. 'best sellers.' 
Although it will be of tremendous interest 
to the citizenry of the whole State, irrespec- 
tive of vocation, it will have special appeal 
to clergymen, judges, lawyers, teachers, 
newspaper men, students of history, lovers 
of exquisite word-painting, people prideful 
of the 'Old North State's' glorious past, and, 
finally, to the general reader, in or outside 
the State, who enjoys a wholesome blend of 
wit, wisdom, thrilling incident, heart-stirring 
episode, eloquent inspiration, and spiritual 
uplift. Any single chapter is well worth the 
moderate price of this unique and lastingly 
valuable volume." 

President-Emeritus of 
Western Carolina Teachers' College 

I have known Judge Alley long enough 
and been with him on enough occasions to 
know that his book is highly interesting and 
informative. I have read the review in the 
Charlotte Observer and references in other 
publications. I look forward with much 
pleasure to having this volume. 

Judge Alley has not only delighted his 
friends but has rendered a great state service 
in bringing out this volume. He is not only 
one of the ablest Superior Court Judges that 
we have ever had in North Carolina, but he 
is one of our most interesting and useful 
citizens. I am happy to be able to claim him 
as one of my warm personal friends. 
Cordially yours, 


Itate of North Carolina 






ilililiiinf'T *' llir 

1 ill * Hi til it * llli iil*lii« it HI t *l u i li H * i is W u*-*! 




the Class of 1901 

founded by 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 






Printed by 

Rowan Printing Company 

salisbury, n. c. 

Bound by 

Carolina Ruling & Binding Company 

charlotte, n. c. 


Copyright, 1941, by 
Felix E. Alley 


% Ta table of contents 


Childhood . . . First Banjo . . . Story of the Thread 
. . . New Banjo . . . Banjo Ballad . . . Struggles for 
Education . . . Finishes High School . . . Begins Study .. 

of Law . . . Enters Politics . . . Elected Clerk ... 
Becomes own Law Instructor . . . Obtains License ... 2 n 

Elected to State Legislature . . . Elected Solicitor . . . 
Continues Practice of Profession . . . Appointed Judge 
. . . Elected for Full Term . . . Obligation to Friends. 


OF 1912. 

Speech nominating Honorable Locke Craig for Gov- 21 

ernor . . . Tribute to memory of Judge James L. Webb t 

. . . Tribute to Reverend Caleb A. Ridley ... A pen 37 
picture of Christ. 



Story of Greek God of Opportunity . . . Choosing life 
work . . . Success comes to those who find their proper 
place . . . No waste of energy in the government of 
God . . . The fable of the fig tree . . . Nature's gifts as 
numerous as the stars . . . The bootblack, the barber, 33 
the farmer, the builder . . . Human life compared to to 

mountain River . . . Tuckaseigee falls in Jackson County 57 
. . . Lessons taught by the Savior . . . Several roads in 
battle of life . . . Improve the opportunities of today 
. . . The River of Time . . . Our conduct is put to record 
. . . The clock of Destiny strikes now. 


The giving of the law . . . Astrea, Goddess of Justice 58 
. . . The Persian Religion . . . Choice between Good and f 

Evil, Right and Wrong . . . Every Courthouse a Temple 74 
of Tragedy . . . Tribute to Professor Robert L. Madison 
. . . Old Cullowhee High School . . . Western Carolina 
Teachers' College . . . The Temple of Vesta and the 
Vestal Virgins. 

$ (Hi) 



Religion inherent in the heart of man. Egyptian re- 
ligion . . . The Scandinavian faith . . . Greek theogony 
. . . The Grecian Gods and Goddesses . . . The Roman 
Deities . . . The Hades of the Ancients . . . The Heaven 
75 of the Ancients . . . The Babylonian faith . . . The re- 

to ligion of Confucius . . . Hebrew Religion . . . The 
98 Mohammedan Religion . . . The Hindu Religion as 

exemplified in life and works of Gandhi . . . Zorastrian- 
ism . . . Buddhism . . . The Aztec and Persian faith . . . 
Ancient Religions prepared mankind for the Christian 
faith . . . Religion as manifested in nature . . . The 
Bible a revelation from God . . . Christianity contrasted 
with other religions . . . Christ the Savior. 



Jesus appeared in the Classical Age to an enlightened 
people . . . He opened His mission with challenge to 
existing order . . . The Religion He established is 
founded on fact . . . Proven by testimony as other facts 
are proved . . . The testimony of the Evangelists . . . 
Application of rules of proof as in trials in our Courts 
. . . Corroborated by testimony of the five Apostolic 
Fathers . . . Supported and corroborated by unbelieving 
Jews of the First Century . . . Philo, the Alexandrian 
*£, Jew . . . The Jewish Talmud or Commentaries on the 
Hebrew Law . . . The Toldoth Jeschu, or Generation 
of Jesus . . . Josephus, the Jewish Historian of the 
First Century admits the wonderful works of Jesus 
. . . Corroborates the testimony of the Evangelists . . . 
Pagan Witnesses . . . Tacitus . . . Pliny the Younger 
. . . Suetonious, Roman Historian . . . The Report of 
Pilate . . . Genuineness of, proved by Eusebius, Justyn 
Martyr, and Tertullian . . . Pilate's testimony treated 
both as admission and confession . . . Paul's testimony 
. . . The Divinity of Jesus . . . Miracle, proved by Nature 
. . . Illustrations . . . Testimony of the Savior Himself 
. . . Trial and crucifixion . . Resurrection and Ascension. 








Great need of State and Nation is knowledge of the 
law. Fundamental principles may be mastered in five 
years of intensive study . . . Resourcefulness necessary 
to success . . . Ideal lawyer must be a ready speaker 
. . . Ideal lawyer depends on his own preparation . . . 
Unwise cross-examination . . . Author's method of 
reaching decisions . . . Ideal lawyer is frank and honest 
with Court and opposing counsel . . . Ideal lawyer 
recognizes no mistress but the truth . . . Ideal lawyer 
does not follow course of least resistance . . . Essay on 
the goose . . . Ideal lawyer must travel the undemanded 
mile as taught by the Savior . . . Ideal lawyer is a relig- 
ious man . . . Ideal lawyer is a minster of the law . . . 
The law not a system of mercy or vengeance ... In 
time of trouble nation depends upon the Bar. 




Political speech delivered in substance throughout f 

North Carolina in the Presidential Campaign of 1932. 159 



The Judge compared with a scales . . . Both sides 
must be fully heard . . . How Judge should treat the 
lawyers . . . Courage an essential of justice . . . Judicial 160 
dignity . . . Justice is blind when she poises her scales to 

. . . The jail, a poem . . . The law in the Scriptures . . . 174 
Salvaging the driftwood . . . The value of a young man 
. . . Maxims for the Bench . . . The Judge, a poem. 


Illustrations used in legal arguments . . . Character 
. . . The flight of a spirit ... A plea for sympathy . . . 
Faith in testimony . . . The miracles of Christ . . . The 175 
parables of Christ . . . The Sermon on the Mount, and to 

the Golden Rule . . . The Superscription on the Cross 190 
of Christ . . . The scales of justice . . . The Hunchback 
of Notre Dame. 





Hold the rudder true . . . The Merchant of Venice 
. . . Justice tempered with mercy . . . The sympathetic 
jury . . . Circumstantial evidence . . . Tracks of God 
. . . The silent witness . . . Reasonable doubt illustrated 
... A real man . . . The true objects of pity . . . The 

to bridge builder . . . Justice, truth, and mercy . . . 

214 Woman . . . Opportunity . . . He was down and out 
. . . Courage in life . . . Courage of Hope . . . New 
Year resolution . . . On lying down . . . The test of a man 
. . . Now I lay me down to sleep . . . The best memory 
system . . . The way of the world. 


Reply to outside writers . . . They tell half truths, 
embellished by exaggeration, and untruths . . . My 

91 c; opportunities to know the mountains and mountaineers 
... Original domain of North Carolina . . . The real 

22q mountain Counties . . . The Unaka Range; the Blue 
Ridge, and cross-ranges . . . The higher peaks . . . 
Rainfall in the mountains . . . Variety and size of trees 
... A word picture of the Carolina Mountains. 


A visit to the old Homestead . . . Description of 

Unaka Kanoos, or Whiteside Mountain . . . The little 

spring and Norton's Fork ... A visit to the Silent City 

of the dead ... A description of the Northern side of 

230 the Smokies . . . Wayah Bald, the mountain of the Wolf 

to ... Legend of Coneheeta, the wise man of the Cherokees 

243 . . . From Wayah Bald, the highest elevation in the 

Nantahalas, you feel that you see "All the Kingdoms 

of the world and the glory of them." Sunrise from 

Wayah Bald . . . Sunset from Wayah Bald . . . The 

Nantahala Moon. 




They were not criminals from England, as asserted 
by some outside writers . . . DeSoto's trip through the 
Carolina Mountains . . . Evidence of Spanish mining 
. . . Early traders and explorers . . . The mountains 244 
were settled by Scotch-Irish, English, and Dutch ... to 

Heroes of Battle of Alamance among them . . . The 255 
Watauga Settlement . . . The first republic in America 
was in Carolina Mountains . . . The best blood of four 
races flows in veins of Carolina Mountaineers. 



The first settlements in Surry, Wilkes, Burke, and 
Rutherford ... No roads but buffalo trails . . . The first 
cabins . . . Scarcity of tools and cooking utensils . . . 
Woods full of game as well as dangers . . . Discovery 
and mining of iron . . . The beginning of stockraising 
. . . The coming of the loom and the weaving of cloth 256 
. . . Process of weaving described . . . Hogs fattened to 

on the "fruit" of the forest . . . Chitterlings the best 272 
part of the hog . . . Membership in the "Cheerful Chit- 
terling Chewers Club" of Winston-Salem and the "So- 
ciety of Tripe and Chitterling Eaters of America" . . . 
The beginnings of road building . . . The first schools 
. . . The days of the good neighbors. 

The mountaineers' part in the early years of the Revo- 
lution . . . Prevented Indians from joining the British 
. . . The winning of the Battle of King's Mountain . . . 
The conquering of the Red Men . . . The mountaineers' 
part in the various wars in which our country has 
engaged . . . The war between Highlands and Moccasin 
Townships . . . The blood of Scotland, Ireland, Holland, 
and England flows in the veins of the Carolina Moun- 
taineers . . . Dangers, hardships, and hazards of pioneer 
life developed a type of men and women superior to 
the common run. Mountaineers have no apology for 
the record they have made. 






291 The Cherokee Indians . . . Origin . . . Habits and 

to characteristics . . . Territory and Wars with Indian 

306 Tribes and Early Settlers. 


The various Treaties . . . Trespasses of white settlers 

307 into Indian boundaries . . . Review of Indian Land 
£ Laws . . . Statutes, Treaties and decisions of the Courts 

325 . . • Removal to Indian Territory . . . Remnants of 
Original Nation were ancestors of present Eastern Band 
of Cherokee Indians . . . Our heritage from the Indians. 



326 The visit of Tecumseh . . . Chief Junaluska, the 
to friend of the Pale faces ... A collection of Indian 

349 legends. 


Born in North Carolina . . . Attended school at 
Waxhaw . . . Served in Revolution at age of fifteen . . . 
Studied law at Salisbury for two years . . . Stood ex- 
amination for license and admitted to practice at Wades- 
boro, September 26, 1797 . . . Locates at Jonesboro, 
N. C, in spring of 1788 . . . Moves to Nashville in 1789 
. . . Appointed Solicitor of Mero District in 1789 . . . 

350 Appointed U. S. Attorney for Tennessee Territory in 
to 1790 . . . First member of Congress from Tennessee, 

370 June 1, 1796 . . . Appointed to U. S. Senate. 1797 . . . 
Resigned April, 1798 . . . Appointed in 1798 to Superior 
Court Bench . . . Resigned July 1, 1804 . . . Fought 
and won Creek War . . . Victory of New Orleans, 
January, 1815 . . . Crushed Seminoles in Florida, and 
became Florida's first Governor . . . Defeated for 
President in 1824 . . . Elected in 1828 and 1832 .. . 
Compared with Roosevelt. 




Lincoln an illegitimate . . . Testimony of Herndon 
. . . Lincoln's admission . . . Scripps' statement . . . 
Lamon's testimony . . . Newton's investigation . . . 371 
The nine alleged fathers of Lincoln . . . Evidence f 

collected by Cathey and Coggins . . . D. J. Knotts' evi- 395 
dence . . . John E. Burton statement . . . Suppressed 
testimony and presumptions arising therefrom. 




Nancy Hanks, mother of President Lincoln . . . 
Grand-daughter of Joseph and Nancy Shipley Hanks 
of Amelia County, Virginia . . . Comes with Colony 
to what is now Gaston County, N. C. . . . Lives with 
her uncle "Dicky" Hanks . . . Removal to Rutherford 
County . . . Reared to womanhood in home of Abraham 
Enloe . . . Removal to Swain County . . . Removal to 
Craytonville, S. C, to work in bar of her uncle Luke 
. . . Meets John C. Calhoun at Hanks tavern . . . 
Illicit love affair with Calhoun . . . Calhoun becomes 
the father of Nancy's child . . . Evidence of Calhoun 
paternity of Abraham Lincoln: Judge James L. Orr, 
quoting testimony of Hanks family . . . J. B. Lewis . . . 
Statement of "Uncle" Johnnie Hanks to Dr. W. C. 
Brown . . . Statement of Mrs. Fannie Marshall, cousin 
of Calhoun . . . General Armistead Burt . . . Great- 
grandson of Calhoun testifies . . . Statement of grand- 
daughter at Charleston . . . Mrs. Ressie Miller Hook 
. . . Statement of grand-son, "Pat" Calhoun . . . William 
H. Abernathy of Charlotte . . . Professor A. G. Holmes, 
head of history department of Clemson College . . . The 
real Nancy Hanks, mother of Lincoln. 


Abraham Lincoln born in the Carolina Mountains 
. . . Competency of evidence as to the Calhoun paternity 42 « 
. . . Competency of the evidence as to birth place . . . 
Authorities cited . . . Calhoun's acknowledgment, and 
Nancy's admission . . . Remarkable resemblance, facial 
and intellectual . . . The inevitable conclusion. 










Evidence by way of signed statements by those who 
knew the facts prove that Henry W. Grady, the great 
Atlanta Editor and Orator, was born at Murphy, N. C. 
. . . Lived as a child at what is now Hayesville, N. C. 
. . . Signed statements: Miss Hattie Axley . . . G. H. 
Haigler . . . Mrs. Pearl Herbert and husband . . . Dr. 
Earl Grady, cousin and personal secretary . . . Mrs. 
Lillie Terrell, great-aunt . . . Record evidence . . . 
Evidence constitutes true history as defined by Ridpath 
. . . Argument based on the evidence. 



455 Definitions of General and Local History . . . Misrep- 

to resentations of mountaineers by Kephart, Miss Morley 
472 and other outside writers . . . Misrepresentations re- 
plied to . . . Recital of Mountaineers' progress from 
the time of first pioneers to the present day. 




Kephart and Morley leave impression that all moun- 
taineers are "moonshiners" . . . Describe mountain 
women as "bent, broken, and ugly" . . . Same descrip- 
tion as to men . . . Repeatedly say they are describing 
the "mass, or the average" . . . Author's description of 
beauty of mountain women . . . Kephart and Morley 
say we are still living in early part of Eighteenth Cen- 
tury . . . They do not write of the average mountaineers 
° n or the leaders . . . Miss Morley contends that the people 
are starving "spiritually" . . . Instances showing that 
contrary is true . . . Miss Morley asserts that Biltmore 
Estate was first civilizing influence to come to the 
mountains . . . Instances of industrial development and 
progress . . . Tribute to Champion Paper & Fibre Com- 
pany, and its contribution to progress of the mountain 
region . . . The old compared to the new order. 







Boney Ridley ... Dr. "Snipe" McCloud . . . Dave 
Lewis . . . Fid Hurst . . . Dr. Crawford . . . The Cor- 
oner's report . . . The stubborn juror . . . Jim Abernathy 493 
. . . The 'liminated jury . . . The man with four moth- to 

ers-in-law . . . The mother-in-law and the panther . . . 5^3 
"Morphine", the offspring of the wild poppy . . . The 
Kentuckian's Psalm of Life. etc. 



Physical description . . . First English settlement in 
North Carolina . . . Colony absorbed by Croatan 
Indians . . . Eleanor Dare Stones . . . The Stamp Act 
. . . The Stamps that were not unloaded in North Car- 
olina . . . First armed resistance to British tyranny 
. . . Battle of Alamance was first battle of the Revolu- 
tion . . . Watauga Association, first republic in America 514 
. . . North Carolina first to declare Independence ... f 

Rowan Declaration . . . Mecklenburg . . . Fayetteville 539 
. . . Tryon . . . Halifax, all before Philadelphia Declara- 
tion . . . Next to last State to seceed from Union . . . 
Remained out until legislated back . . . States' part in 
our various wars . . . King's Mountain decisive battle 
. . . N. C. leads in many activities . . . Final tribute to 
Mountains and Mountaineers. 



The Author, opposite title page 

Whiteside Mountain 16a 

Tuckaseigee Falls 16b 

Henry W. Grady 400a 

House in which Grady was born, at Murphy, N. C. 384b 

House in which Grady lived at Hayesville, N. C. 400b 

Andrew Jackson 352a 

Cabin Home of Nancy Hanks, near Belmont, N. C. 352b 

Nancy Hanks marker near Belmont, N. C. 368a 

The author in his office 384a 

Abraham Lincoln as he appeared while President 368b 

John C. Calhoun with hair and beard arranged as Lincoln 

wore his 368c 

John C. Calhoun as he appeared after middle age 384c 

Abraham Lincoln with beard removed and hair arranged 

as Calhoun wore his 384b 

John C. Calhoun Mansion at Fort Hill (Clemson College) , 

S. C 368d 



To my wife, Mary Elvira Alley, and my daughter, 
Edna Louise Ray, whose devotion, trust and confidence 
in sunshine and in shadow have been my greatest inspir- 
ation, this book is affectionately dedicated. 



I have never before written a book; but I have observed in 
reading them that they always begin with a "preface", which is 
sometimes called "foreword". I have also observed that by whatever 
name called, the "preface" serves as an "apology" or "excuse" 
offered by the author to his prospective readers for having written 
the book at all. 

I have always loved to read history, and for many years I have 
found pleasure in collecting items of local history, not only in the 
Counties of my own State, but also in many Counties of the ad- 
joining States. National history is but a collection of the innum- 
erable facts of local history brought together into a connected 
whole. Woodrow Wilson, himself a great historian, has said: "The 
history of a nation is only the history of villages and communities 
written large." In Chapter XXVIII I have collected the several 
Declarations of Independence, adopted in North Carolina long 
before the Philadelphia Declaration. As shown in that chapter 
several copies of the Mecklenburg Declaration were destroyed, and 
many writers have asserted that a Mecklenburg Declaration never 
did exist. What purported to be a copy of it was found among the 
papers of Ephraim Brevard, its author, and this copy has been 
published in certain magazines and newspapers and a copy has 
been graven on a bronze tablet which hangs in the corridor of the 
Mecklenburg Courthouse. Now, Dr. Archibald Henderson, of the 
State University, has found among the archives of that Institution 
a genuine copy of the original, which will be contained in his forth- 
coming history of North Carolina. The copy so found by him is the 
same copy appearing in this volume. I have included the Mecklen- 
burg, the Fayetteville, the Tryon, and the Rowan Declarations, 
because they are not generally published, and as they breathe the 
very spirit of liberty, I felt that they should be within the reach 
of the average reader. 

I am proud that I am a native-born North Carolinian; but I 
find still greater pride in the fact that I am a Carolina Mountaineer, 
"bred and born." Our magnificent mountain region gave me birth; 
I was nurtured at her breast; I have loved my life in the shadow 
of her templed hills; and when my final summons shall come, I trust 
that my ashes may repose in her friendly bosom, and that my spirit 


may take its flight into the mysterious realms of the great Unknown 
from off the dizzy and lofty heights of her eternal mountains. 

The true history of the Carolina Mountaineers has never been 
written. The little that has been written about them has not been 
written by their friends. Most that has been said about them has 
been said by northern writers, who knew nothing about them in 
the first place, and those who have written about them seemed to 
have been obscessed with the idea that they are freaks and cur- 

To try to tell of the origin of our mountaineers; to publish at 
least a few of the facts that tell of their glorious past both in war 
and in peace; to mention at least a part of the facts which foretell 
the wonderful destiny that awaits them — these are some of the 
reasons which I offer as my "apology" for the publication of this 

Andrew Jackson was not a native of our mountain region; but 
he came here as a young man, and the Carolina Mountains gave 
him his opportunity, and prepared him for the position of leader- 
ship which he held in America throughout his eventful life. He was 
exceedingly popular in the North, and in the Empire State of New 
York they sought to proclaim him King of the United States! 

Abraham Lincoln was born in the Carolina Mountains, and 
lived here as a child; he was exceedingly popular in the North — 
after he was assassinated! 

Henry W. Grady, one of the greatest orators of all time, was 
born in the Carolina Mountains, of mountain stock. He was 
exceedingly popular in the North and the North acclaimed him a 
great apostle of peace, "a sovereign among his peers." 

These three men were but samples of the material we have here; 
and they are not the only men born in our mountains who have 
helped to make our country glorious and great. Mountain men 
have filled with distinction every profession and calling in life. 

My book is essentially a mountain product. It is not only a book 
written by a mountain man about mountain people; but it is printed 
on mountain paper, manufactured from mountain wood by a 
mountain paper mill — the Champion Paper & Fibre Company 
which has made a wonderful contribution to the development and 
progress of our mountain region in recent years. Professor Robert 


L. Madison, President-Emeritus of Western Carolina Teachers' 
College, has been good enough to devote ten days of his valuable 
time to the reading of my manuscript. He made many valuable 
suggestions, for which I am deeply grateful. He is the greatest 
English Scholar that I have ever known, and it afforded me great 
satisfaction when he gave my manuscript his unqualified approval. 

I have given my book the title "Random Thoughts and the 
Musings of a Mountaineer" because that is precisely what it is. 
It does not contain much about any one thing, and yet it has some- 
thing about many things. It has been written under great difficulties, 
largely at night, within the past two years, in my room at the hotels 
and away from my library, and in the writing of it I have not taken 
one minute of time from my official duties. I trust that those who 
read it will find at least a modicum of the pleasure that I have 
found in writing it. What reception will be accorded it by the 
public, I have not stopped to conjecture. Whether it shall be well 
received, or shall not be received at all, I can only repeat what a 
good old mountaineer friend recently said to me: "I am a great 
believer in the doctrine that what is to be will be, and what ain't, 
orter 'a been." 

Waynesville, N. C, 
July 5, 1941. 




PresGT\iiA^ a 7v Dn-usual T1\cxtv and 
^e]eciio-/\s f r o m\ His £3 e s i ?ro<iuciioA5 
Ix i i e r a ry ; r a i" o r i cal, "P K i 1 o <b pK 1 e. al ; T X e o- 

1 ooi cal ; Kic. 

A greai booK ~ iKai Co n\e s (totk a. 
o r e a i IX i t\ k e p is a. s 7\i p of tlvojAjLht ; 
o e e p x r ei p Kt eo unfj\ 4 ruirK ^d becxuiy .- TXeo. 

A q o oo booK i_s tKe ptecioub I if e 
bl ood of cl tt\ a s f e r 5pi Ti t, e rr\ b aljnrx e o g-r\o 
treasure o up o a purpose to a life b e- 
yor^ o l_i_£e_r- ]T\i 1 i o t\. 

Honored by "tKe it\v i tcx/kioTV to Write 
tKe miroouciory seciioT\ of tXis re- 
nvar^able booK, aTuc^e Alley's forn\er 
instructor conora-tulaies fcXose wkose 
fortunate privilege it will be to reai 
ulL ot arvy of tKe follown^ f ascn\atir\y 
anS irv^tTuciive cXapteTS filleo wiiX 
tks lTxspireo tkou^Xts of ex. gifted 
CaTol ir\ou Ki oKlowT\6 et. 


On U orlh "kclt o\i <\cx'^ \vr\jiKy rosier 
of eminent rr\e7\ wKose eyriraorcfirxa- 
ry abilities clt\S 6i stir\j?u.i sKe<£ ser~ 
vices Have tlesseJ iKe State ar\S 
aWeci lustre to Ker rerxowrx, cer- 
taiALy oJiAc^e "I^elyc "E^Alley Re- 
serves kiyk raAK- *H lS steaiy rise, 
Respite poverty, ob s curity, t\e f\an: 
Ji cap oijuveAile ill \ealiK, ar\6 ike 
lacK of early e6ucati ot\cx1 aivaA- 
ia.yes,l\as beer\ truly pheAorr\er\al. 

I A contempl atir\j? tf\e asterisk- 
ing evolaiioA of q$ia6 o e Alley 5 ckar - 
acter ar\A capabiliti es, one is uplifteo 
(xr\& ervkearteAeo; for ir\ -t\eir\ are re- 
vealed ike Logical ano" tatvF ailir\^ re- 
salts of ki_c?k oLT\cf '"u^Tvoaixnieo aspiraiior\ 
coaplec^ wiik self- i\Aowle^e, self- oisci- 
plirxe, clt\6 self-control. His tireless en- 
ergy aic£e<£"by kis persisteni -miilixaiion 
of every precious spare rr\orY\e-r\t intke 
intervals of an e/caciir\a professional 
and official life will account tor 
kis er\orrr\oiAS stores of learr\my ano 
tke prolific f ruiiajpe of \is versaiile 
9e?\i-us 1a tl\e fields of ciiiz.enski p, lit- 


er <xi w. re, o rcxt ory ; jiArispr^cJervce, an 6 
r-eliaiorv. His TAoito seems to have 
beer\ subsi arvt lally iKis : Time o i\c e 
passe o as yone forever ar\ 6~ rr\illioAS 
of rr\oT\e"y to ill ~r\ot- hnr\o bac\ one 
jT\omer\-i; that is lost. 

put T\0 (XTY\01XT\"t of pTlOeflAl 

praise by glt\ af f ecfi or\ate olo 
teacKer, ano r\o falsome eT\co- 
rr\i \a ty\ s by foA0 ; a 6 Tr\i r i r\o f r l e t\ o s 
woulcJ coT\vi7\ce tKe pixblic tK^t 
ofucJpe Alley is a^reai n\ai\. To 
establish his "title io _yreaiiAess ; 
vve need or\ly io cSiteci a"t~keTvtioT\ 
to tKe salieTvi feci-tixres of his t\o- 
ta~ble career ani to -the scholarly, 
eloaiAe?\t-, ano eruiife products of 
Kis rr\37\p ar\o \eart ; proofs of 
w\ lC K are sta brrvitted wifkiTv t\is 
voliATi\e. TKese tTxi-rvos speaK, for 
iKe7\selveS; ani neither iKe T\a7\ 
r\or any self-express 1 ot\ of "tKe 
TY\aT\ rehires lau<Sa-fcior\ in orier 
to n\a\e T^anfest the "merit of 
eiiKer tKe or^e or tKe ot\er. 
A rea6y an 6 accuraie n\eaT\s 


of ]uoon\y cx 7T\a7\, aside fron\ esi]- 
n\atir\o Kis proouctiOAS, is by as- 
Cericxi-r\ir\o In i s Com p aim o nski p S and 
his Usm^ tkese criteria, 
only, an observer has bwt "to visit 
<Ja<Sye Adlev it\ Kis UTxiaue Cabin.- 
office ai "V/a.-yrxe'DVille, wKere, Sur- 
rouA^ e o by a. la rye and choice Co]- 
leciioA of booKS consisting n\amly 
oi worlds ot\ hi story, Ii teratwre, and 
reliQion^, he spenis TT\osi of ike kours 
of ki s brief vacations rea&i ny , *+)ri - 
Uao, cxtvo o i ct aiiAP. T ke comrrvooi- 
oas roor\ is laryejy furrvisKeo VJit\ 
ren\iA<lers of his "b oy Kooo rr\o\A7vtair\ 
Ko7i\e; ar\d tke walls are aoorr\eo 
WitK pictures oi j?ooo and j?re<xt 
rrverN^— aw\or\y tkenv -A/ycocK ; KKniy- 
I\au5 y ano "Bot'' Taylor*. Some i\ this 
select ooUlery of fine faces repre- 
sent o i stirw ui sKeo personal triers; 
still otkers identify tkevnselves 
tkro-ayK "the f avnilian features ot 
AA/asKir\c?torv, Tjitvco1?v>Wi1 son^ and 
ftarvK,hT\D. Roosevelt 

Ir\ cJuoye Alley's opinion, tkese are 


tke si 7c yrecxtesi orators tkai America 
Kas proiaceiiTairicK HeTvry 01 ay, Cal- 
Ko-u-t\^ Wet si e r, HeiKT-jr W. Graoy ai\o Wil- 
li oltt\ el. ^PryoLT\. Tkeir p i ciiAres also 
orace iKe c ab^Tv- off 1 ce walls. 13-at 
Tr\ooe3M\ ii"n\es Have evoK.eo arv £oreiyr\ 
Lanos oe.i\iuses of elooueAce^ ani duioe 
Alley's di s cerninj/ iaste has lei Kim 
to ckoose as ike iKtee sapre-n\e iT-u.- 
ropeccT\ oraiors : )7\irabeaiJ, of rra7\ce; 
ET"n\ileo (Past el cx-Tj of SpaiT\; ani Loll is 
KjDss-utk, of Kur^ary. TKe i\oble liKe- 
nesses of ikese orc^ior- pairi ois, ap- 
propri aiely ervouoXj oire accoroeo 
place a7T\oT\o ike Celetniies wKose 
br\ean\£7\is glorify ike walls oi oJ-uoye 
Alley's (j^aiei aT\o oeliyktf-ul retreat. 

T?\e 01 scr 1 n\i r\atioi\ bKowr\ by 
eT-u-Oye Alley it\ assembl 1 i\o ikis ar- 
ray of pi'ciu-res aiiesis "his ao77\-ira- 
tioi\ for nAen of V3sioi\ ; KioK loeals, 
ai\o lrai\sceuo^i\i accompli sK"n\ei\i. 
JJcmttless, tt\ a r\y of tke readers 
of ikis volume woilH appreciaie a. 
f-ull account of <$ -ao^ye Alley's ii\ieTesf- 
irvy a7\o lfxspiriTw life; bat- ike resiric- 


tec!) limits of this, i rvt r-o <5 u cti otv iotbio 
CKT\yzHir\Q LeyorvO a brief sketck pre- 
5e-rvi-]T\o little rr\ore ihaTv the iT\osi 

irr\ porta, rvt evenib it\ 1\ i s no "tew orf hjy 
pr oar-ess f ro?i\ tk e skkIv cKiloKooo 
of aix obscure TY\puTvta~:i~rv 1 a<o "to a- po- 
sition amono the foremost juiMsts 
ar^o" oraiors of kis 7\aiive Stcxte. 

Herediiy ; enviroyvnAeAt, eo"ueatioA ; 

CAiAO Tell9iOT\ ; COYV\"ba T\e<3 Witl\ lofiv CXTVv 
batiorv ar\6 iTvvi 7vc i~bl e TesolutioT\ ; are 
the n\ajo? f-GLctors that have shopped t\e 
per s orvcxl i-ty <xt\o assured the Siyr\cxl 
Success of o5uoye Alley. T\ere has 
beei\ Aotlur\y speciacular or rv\eteoTic 
ir\ tke successive stages of: Six bye 
Al Ley's ascei\sioK "bo e n\i r\e r\ce ; yraiu.- 
ally anc! sieaojly upward Ke \a s ns- 
e\, liKe cl ylowjuo stcc:r sKir\ar\o Wirh 
it\c recx s l r\a bri 11a a.T\ce ; cxs he V\ocs ao- 
vcc7\ceo to conspicuous position it\ 
tKe xe7\iik of: public view. 

He was bonx, oJuly o", 1 873, iiv 
Whitesioe Gove, uA<$er tke sKcxOow o£ 
tt\ajestic Whitesioe TI\oiAAtaiT\, one 
of kis earliest i ryspi rati ot\s. His fa- 


t\er, (Pol. eJokTV^Alley, a JT^ejci c^Var 
Vetera^, ano \is n\pt)\er ; fi\ary Wor- 
io?v Alley, were pioi\eer settlers if\ 
i\a"t pari of Wkat is \ow o5acKSO\ 
CoTAixty- ai\ o were botlv sturoy a\o 
ir\Htelliy er\t- peopLe of u\cjue5ti oTvable 
cKp-Tact er, 

Yoanc? Awlley a.ite7\deo local 
oxxhlid sc\ools (TASxjLally si^ wee^s 
ii\ jiAroL-tiorvj) -uTvtil T\e teac\eo i\e 
ir\t erry\e 01 aie yra d es. A*t t\e aye o£ 
17, K^ eT\-tere<5" PiaIIo w\e e t(iy\ScKpol 
(Aow We sier7\ C^aroliT\a Teac\ers' 
(^olleQej). After Xis first year tl\ere, 
>\e taicKecf" for n\ucK of- iKe tir\e., 
iyv cl I07 Catnv aAO s-uTosistea oik a. 
pitifully nveay^er diet. lAe was unable fo 
0Ltter\6 reya.larly, b-at persevered fill \e 
orao mated n\l8£6. Itv sc\ool \e vi as very 
popular airvo freo-aeivfly eivtert a ii\e o 
K^i s scKoolTT\ates wiiKX^s ba^jo or 
violn\ or coty\ic sotvos. He ioo\ Kee-»\- 
esf> interest irycebaie, i\ ri\oot 
courts wKicK^K^ or^aT\izeo, aiv& iiv 
Ki st ory, T£t\o1i s\> ai\d Tciieratixre. 

Now follow, i-f you. will, t\is ou,i- 


liY\e of Kis successive promoiiorvs atv<T 
a o" v ex. 7\c e ryye T\t s : 

(i) I tv -i S f s j elecie6 Clenv of iXe §>a- 
pen'or Couri of qScxcksotv SoiAivty, cxao, 
wKile serving ike fouT-yeat ierrtv, 
stiAOied law wiiXoai ai\ i-rv?>ir -actor; 

(Z) I iv rebrixary, 1?o3, obi cm -rye <5 H-6. 
Li'cervse to praciice law ayvo i Trvnveoiaie- 
ly opei\e<S oltv office ir^Websier; 

(3) 1 7v 19oH-, elected -to ihe ^>iaie 
teyislaiure, a no", c^i- its sessi otv (1 ? o5 }> 
obi-air\e<f Co rvi l Tvaeo" a"*v£ a do i i i OTval 
OLppT-opnaiioTvs for tKe Wornval De- 
pa rt VYve. *vt of GullowKee Hiyk ScKool; 

(#) I\ 1 ? *t, elected" Solicitor of ike 
20tk dJadicial District, servjrxy vvitK 
/YvavKeo ability and efficiency a~ r over- 
year terT^ ola 6" oeclirvirvo io seei< re- 

(^; Ia 1f-l£, at iKe §±<x-ie. Democratic 
(2 otvv eivi i otv n\ ^R^aleiyk, oelxve-reo a^v 
eloaaeTvt ano n\e~nr\or a ble speecK pla- 
CiTvy Cocx^^^aiy iy\ tvotyvi 7va.ii ot\ £ot 
Governor "before a-r\ auiierxce of $000; 

(&) Jrv 1 71 3, moved to V/cvyrves vi lie (^>\is 
practice t\oW e^teno-i-ny 7Y\-io seveis^ 


Co-la vvties) a>\<i tKereaHer- s\jl c c e ssivefy 
obtair\e^ licenses ta practice fi>on\ -iKe 
U. S. -SixpreiAe Qouri, iKe U.S. Circuit (^purt 
oi Appeals ( 4iK Circuit) aai bon\ -the 
Su'jren\e Covxris of Vi roir\i a ; TeT\r\e ssee, 
GeotaiCL, an6 SolaIK (Jarolnva-, Sub seauei\i- 
ly pa rii c i pati rvy ir\ important "iMaiS i>\ 
sever\ States outsiJe of Mort(\ Carol ir\ a.- 

(_7)li\ 1^1^, was presidential elector 
for Wooorow W j 1 s o iv ai\o,i\ 1 f £ o , for 
o5aT>\es 7\.Qqx, arte? yY\ade speec\es tkroayk- 
ouL"t tKe 5oA^re^sioi\al pistnct iY\eac\ 

(?) I\ i9ife, na/cxs UT\sucttS5ful caA- 
iiiaie tor SoKoress aycxiTvst Roi\. ^ebu- 
Iotn^ We aver; bwt ,c%f ier Je-f e at, r\<\6e., at 
l\i s o w vv e^c p e iv?) e , e i o k t e e r\^ 5 p e e c\e s i >\ 
be\alf of tke \on\iT\ee; 

(7)Itv j I?3Z, was a delegate to tKe Na- 
tional j)eT\ocratic 2.oAveAt)oK xv\ CKi- 
CaoOj arvO n\iJ\e followirvo Cav\pai^ivj 
delivered ikirty-toar SpeecKes, cover- 
i r\p tKe Skate iron\l^obbivsville to 
5acK^o\vjHe so effectively i\dt, tro^ 
all places at wKick He spoKe. east of 
Way 7\esv i He, i-Ke re p o ar ei i\io State 


(? \ a i r r\a rv W'n\bon\e. letters praiSLYvo tKe 
SpeecKes ana r ec^-v^e st i*\o tKe reiuLTMx^ * 
Alle^y io tKe several couTviies for fi^riKer 
aooresses, Copies of all sucKleiiers beirv^ 
rv\aoe by VTyr. Wi Kb o rive ai\6 ; wiiK cKarac- 
ieTisiicL Kn\or\ess, seivt io tKe mrvp'w»T\r 
tanv oraior tor Kis files; 

(10) 0i\ <5a7\. 2. k, -1^3 3, was appoirvtec! 
by %over\or ETKti TvyKa^s -to fill tKe va- 
caivcy res"ulti^? iron\ iKe oeatK of 
Superior 5_ou^ oJ-uooe V/alier t. 77\oore, 
O-tvo, ]i\ cj aiv^ 1^3 4-, Was T\on\i\aiea for 
tKe f u_ll e i cK^i-V ear i-ernr\ ; carryi-rvy ii\ 
tKe, primary eleciio-rv eacK o-fc iKe sev- 
e^x co iA.-v\-t i es of tKe oisirict olt\o recew- 
l rv q cc "total Vr\ a j o r i iy o £ ^^f" 4 (.~t."KT.s K a ™" 
Sorr\e £t\o or-se rr\ervt b<5.iT\<? foiloweo by t\o 
opposition n\ iKe NlcWevrvber ele.ctio-i\); 

(11) $eiwes\ reiire^Ai irorv^ tKe 
Soli ciio rsK^i p a^vcf ekvaiioivio i\e bei\c\ 
aj-u-ooe. 7\lley >\ao tKe largest practice 
ii\ \i s ^cicial District "botK i~>^ t\ta.7y^- 
ber arv o variety oi Cases, Civil a-rvo 

C r 1 y\i *\a I 3 

(1ZJ I 7\ -if $d, at avv electioix, Kelci by 
tKe A1llt»\t\i Association ot V/esieTA. 


(Barolirvo. Teackers' Solle^e, 3uSpt Alley- 
was cl\ose7\ as f)\ a t institutions 
oraiuate wKo lr\ao reA^erecf tke rr\osi 
Si sti nouisT\ec( public Service. riis r\arr\e 
will, ikeref ore, be t\e first of su.cK 
01 sti a? ui s1\ec5 XoAorees io appear* 
upo7\ a pem\a"»\e7\i rr\-ural tablet 
coa s pi cuoia sly oisplaye6 l^iKe col- 
lege li b^ary. 

To t?\e astor\i sKTY\eA.t of <5uo^oe 
Alley's f ri er\o s, tKi s man of amazing 
pkysical git\o 'rr\tellec-tual resources 
has, ii\ tKe "nr\i<5st of tKe uryeAt at\<5 ex- 
cessive o'enr\ano's of \\s professioA, fout\o 
tirr\e to reaC qao oi^oest n\ary volumes, 
rr\aK^ K"U- 7 \oreo~s of political speec\es, 
aAo deliver scores of coTA7AeAce-n-\e-r\-t 
aooresses. Furtkernxore, after years 
of researcKaAa preparation, t"K lS pro- 
fouAcj sfuie^t of sacreo writings }\as 
proouceo reliyious aooresses f\at Kave 
t\rillea' and aplif teo, witk tl\e irApas- 
sioA^ec^ elocj-ue-ryce of a prop\e"t, rr\ore 
tkai\ fifty aiAoieAces ir\ c\urcl\es ; 
court Kouses, ai\i Colle oes, to tKe edifi- 
cation of "bof K rY\iA,isters ar\S layr\tT\. 


?TVy p] e a siny > but poorly perform- 
ed, tasK lacK,5 ; for its completion, on- 
ly son\e aovcx7\ce iT\for~n\atioT\ re- 
^aroiAQ what this publication in- 
cludes. TKe value a no variety of 
its conieAis will mane ct wide ap- 
peal to people of varyir\Q tastes ana 
ir\te rests. Not all parts will e Dual- 
ly mirioue any lAcfwioualj but 
one or 'rr\oTe chapters will be Sure 
to i tjl s i i f y repeated perused by 
"those, who will eycarr\iAe t be choice 
ar\o diverse offeruxys Kererr\ as- 
S ern bl e o- 

TKe followirya chapters, cover- 
iAy a wioe rarxye, eye hi bit- but a lin\- 
itecf eycpressioTv of a lofty soul; for 
no \urrvoL^ "beiny, nv I if e's bri ef Span, 
ca-ry accompli sl\ complete Self-ey:- 
pressio7\. The Qoo-lix;e spirit struy- 
yles io reveal itself, "but ever falls 
sKort of full revelation,. The in- 
spired" ano aspiriny worker is al- 
ways yreater thaA >\is achieve- 
n\er\ts; "baeK of ever;/ hiyl\ an6 t\o- 
ble e^voeavor is a personal iiy of 


siill Kicker a. r\ 6 Aobler powers cxr\o 
as pi rai i or\s. 

T?vose nyt eresiei ii\ oraiory 
Will £ii\S witkirv iKese pa^es a r\u tyy- 
ber of q5ia^>6 Alley's besi prepared 

kawvers a?\o J-uoj?es carv read 
J\ere, wii}\ e7 M oy nveTvrt ar\o profit-, 
excerpts trorrv ^peecKes delivered 
lTv. i rr\ p o r t a -ivt law- suiis ; cov\ianv- 
i i\o llliAstrafi otvs — "hision cal ; bibli- 
cal, ano practical; also a. collec- 
tion of tiuSye. Alleys nr\c^cirr\s for 
Lawyers, yaiKerei £ron\>\is e^Cpen- 
ei\ce aAO S u_pple-n\e.rvi e 6 W r\aTY\erou.S 
Carefully prepared si cxi e n\e-rv-t s e;x> 
pre^iM) K^s corvcepiioiv of f~ke 
duiies of (X iu o q e . 

TXe aTryoLieiA^ aAC iXe Cor\- 
^oisseur iry woro- pai>xiiT\o a.r\d ii\ 
eapKov\ious plvi^a seoloyy will te 
fa5ci>\aiec[ by ike ty\cl s> f. e r 1 y cfe- 
scMpiioivs of n\piAivt ai rv sceT\ery, 
^>ixclv cls iKpse of W l\ite side l\oi\v 
ia-iry (xr\o W<xy<x\ T^clLcT 

T\e lover of le^e-rvo ar\6 lore 


will cSeli^Ki- ltv il\e section devoieo" 
to vK.eroKee I r\ o 1 clt\s , ~tXeir larvcf- 
laws, "tJ\eir- rrw-biks, clyvo -tKei^ £o!k- 
jston e s. 

livery rr\oiA7\ia i nee r ar\0 iKose wKo 
woulo' kkow ike f rufk aboui our 'Ttxr- 
T\eel" rr\ouAtaiAeers sKoulo i\oi fcui io 
reai ike closing ckoLpiers, wKicK reliably 
set forik ike orijpnx, ki siory, ckara.cier- 
isiics, oe v elo pn\eT\i-, cmo progress of ita 
x aTohr\cL }\ioKla.y\o^rs } clt\& n\axe defj- 
r\iie a^\c5 cSioniti eo ref -u-taii oiv of ike 
aspersions ar\o rv\i sr epre seT\^>a"bi oi\s 
of certairx auikors wKo kowe essayeo ikus 
io convey io ike ouiside wo^ld w\ai- 
TTVarvrver of \-u.ty\olt\^ h eiixc? s out T\aiive 
M\o \x7\i a i T\e e r s are. 

Tkese prefaiory parayrapks have. 
eixoeavoTeo io preseni iKe nr\aTv ai-xd 
io clireci your aiie?\iioT\ io Kis cfvef 
a~cki ev eTY\eT\.is. V/ovl a "ikai v/e "Kao mary 
rrvore Ciiize-rxs liKe eJ-uo^e Allejy! It\ 
Tf\y canr\Oio o pi t\i orv, T\ e beloi\ys i>\ iKe 
class of rrveA so eloaue-rvily ckaracier- 
iiei "by Dr. oS. G. Holl ar\A it\ ike follow- 
ing graphic lif\es: — 


Goo owe us 7T\en. A ijme line tkis ^«n\aA(Js 

Sjtrono rhino's, oreat HearfcSj'irue f aii\, and *<L<xiy ^an<?s: 

7T\eiv. wXon\ il\e lust of office does not joll; 

7T\en wKor\ tKe Spoils of office can 7\oi bu.y; 

)l\en wKo possess opinions and a v/ill; 

ff\en wKo Xave konor — m.en wKo will "r\of]ie; 

Tr\ei\ wKo can stand before a iery^aoo^ue 

And Scorn His ireacKerous flaiieTies wiiKoai winK>n?j 

Tall TY\ei\, Sun-crowr^eo, wKo live above tKe too 

l7v public 0-u.iy, a.-r\6 ii\ tkini^iKy. 




I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills 

from whence cometh my help. Psalms, 121: 1. 

From friends cognizant of my plans to publish this volume, 
there have come to me a large number of written and oral sugges- 
tions to the eifect that I include in it at least a brief autobiographi- 
cal sketch, the idea being that it might be worth something to 
aspiring young men who have their own way to make in the battle 
of life. I have been very reluctant to comply with these requests, 
because there is so little I can say about my personal history that 
may be considered worth while; but those who have requested it 
have been so uniformly kind, and have given me so much encour- 
agement in my efforts to get the volume prepared for publication, 
that I have decided to defer to their wishes, and to record the few 
simple facts involved. Another reason that has urged me to this 
decision is that it furnishes me the opportunity to make public 
acknowledgment of my deep appreciation for the steadfast and 
unfaltering friendship of the thousands who have made it possible 
for me to achieve whatever of success has come to me in my long 
life of struggle. If my life and service have been of value to my 
people and my country, these friends deserve more of the credit 
than I would be willing to claim for myself, for without them I 
should have been helpless. 

I was born on the fifth day of July, 1873, at the base of 
Whiteside Mountain, in the southern part of Jackson County, 
eight miles to the north of the South Carolina and Georgia State 
lines. I was the youngest child in a family of ten. My father, 
Col. John H. Alley, was born and reared in Rutherford County, 
on a farm which included a considerable portion of the present 
town of Rutherfordton. His father was also named John H. Alley. 
He came with his father's family from Liverpool, England, when he 
was but two years of age. They settled in Petersburg, Virginia, 
and my grand-father, upon reaching his majority, came to Ruther- 

2 Random Thoughts and the 

ford County, where he made his home for the remainder of his 
life. He married Susan Hampton of Rutherford County, the 
daughter of Jonathan Hampton, who was the son of Colonel 
Andrew Hampton. Both father and son were of Revolutionary 
fame, Andrew Hampton, with Major McDowell and John Sevier, 
having led one division of the mountain men up one side of King's 
Mountain in the noted battle of that name. (See Draper's King's 
Mountain and Its Heroes, Griffin's History of Old Tryon and 
Rutherford Counties, and "The Battle of King's Mountain", etc., 
in "Historical Statements" published by the U. S. Government.) 

Colonel Andrew Hampton was also one of the original signers 
of the Tryon Declaration of Independence, of August 14, 1775. 
(See Puett's History of Gaston County, page 104. Griffin's History 
of Old Tryon and Rutherford Counties, pages 17-18.) 

My mother's maiden name was Sarah W. Norton, and she was 
the first white child born in Whiteside Cove, her father, Barak 
Norton, having been the first pioneer to settle in that section. He 
came to South Carolina with his father's family from England 
when he was fourteen years of age. He married Mary Nicholson, 
who was the daughter of Irish parents, although she was born in 
South Carolina. This grand-father gave Whiteside Mountain its 
name, the Indian name of the Mountain being U-na-ka-ka-noos, 
meaning "White Mountain". 

As a young man my father was Colonel of the Rutherford 
County militia, and as such he, with his militia-men, was ordered 
out, under General Scott to assist in the removal of the Cherokee 
Indians to the Indian Territory. For the most part this was a 
wagon-and-horseback proposition, and it required about two years 
for my father to make the round trip. 

On his return, stopping at my grand- father's home for the 
night, my father and my mother met for the first time, and soon 
thereafter were married. My father then commenced to accumulate 
mountain land, and continued until he owned a contiguous boun- 
dary in Whiteside Cove of about seventeen hundred acres. 

In the meantime he was a volunteer in our War with Mexico, 
and after the Battle of Chapultepec he was made a Colonel in the 
United States Army. He had but one brother, Thomas J. Alley, 
of that part of Rutherford which later became Polk County. They 
were both opposed to Secession, and both voted against it; but 

Musings of a Mountaineer 3 

when North Carolina seceded these brother came to the sad "part- 
ing of the ways". My uncle, honestly believing that a State did not 
have the right to secede from the Union, at once enlisted in the> 
Union Army and fought therein until the close of the War. My 
father, on the other hand, believed with equal honesty, that a State 
had the right to stay in the Union or get out, if it so desired. He 
maintained that the North had no right to dictate to a Southern 
State how it should manage its own internal affairs and institutions, 
and certainly that neither the Government itself, nor any State, 
had the right under the Constitution, to interfere with the insitu- 
tion of slavery in a State where slavery existed. 

Such was the construction which Abraham Lincoln himself 
placed upon the Constitution; for in a speech in Chicago, on 
July 10, 1858, he said: "I have said a hundred times, and I have 
no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no right, and 
ought to be no inclination in the people of the Free States to 
enter into the Slave States, and interfere with the slavery question 
at all ... . While we agree that, by the Constitution we assented 
to, in the States where it exists, we have no right to interfere with 
it, because it is in the Constitution; and we are bound by both duty 
and inclination to stick by the Constitution, in all its letter and 
spirit, from beginning to end." (See Wannamaker, "The Voice of 
Lincoln", page 192.) So, immediately after North Carolina voted 
for Secession my father enlisted in the Confederate Army. After 
one year of service, on account of a lameness received in the Mexican 
War, which rendered him unfit for active service as a soldier, Zeb 
Vance commissioned him Colonel of the Home Guard in Jackson 
County, and for the remainder of the War it was his duty, among 
other things, to arrest deserters from both Armies and carry them to 
prison at Fort Sumter — a service that was even more dangerous 
than duty in the Army itself, and a service that subjected him to 
the bitter hatred of the bushwhackers and outlaws who infested 
the country for some time after the War. Three of my mother's 
brothers, Confederate soldiers all, were killed in battle, two of 
them came home after the conflict was ended, but the youngest 
of her brothers was brutally murdered by Kirk's gang of outlaws, 
at his own home and in the presence of his wife and children. They 
attempted to murder my father the same night, and would have 
succeeded, but for the intervention in his behalf of one of the 
robber gang whose life my father had saved from the hands of 

4 Random Thoughts and the 

a mob in time of the war. After rescuing him from the mob my 
father arrested him and carried him to Fort Sumter. This robber 
was killed by the Home Guard the day following the attempt on 
my father's life, and he recovered the robber's body from among 
eighteen others and gave him a decent burial. (See Allen's History 
of Haywood County, page 348.) 

Most of the men in the territory of what is now known as the 
"Carolina Mountains" fought under the Confederate Flag, al- 
though the "Appalachian Mountains" as a whole furnished two 
hundred thousand men to the Union Army. Following the Sur- 
render, and the return of the soldiers, bitterness and disappointment 
were rampant among the Mountaineers. The feeling was intense 
everywhere, and the defeat of the Confederacy was the sole topic 
of discussion on the lips of all. At this time my father received 
word that his brother, the Union soldier, on his way home, was 
coming by to visit him. He instructed his family and his friends to 
make no mention of the War in his brother's presence. He came 
by and spent three weeks, and the war, and its issues, and its out- 
come were never mentioned. If they had been mentioned, these men 
of settled convictions would probably never have been brothers 
again; but each was willing to concede that the other fought for the 
principles he believed to be right. Until the day of his death my 
father never mentioned to any of his sons that his brother had been 
a Union soldier. We obtained this information from our mother 
and older sisters, and from Judge Justice of Rutherford County. 
But permit me to add this: that this uncle, different from most 
Southerners who served in the Union Army, lived and died a 
Democrat, and for thirty-six years cast the only Democratic vote 
that was cast in Pea Ridge Township in Polk County! Although 
he was advised in his later years that he was entitled to a Federal 
pension, he refused to apply for it, and one of my brothers, who 
has now passed away, and I, contributed to his support during his 
last years on earth. 

I have thus spoken freely of my people, because so much more 
can be justly said of them than can be said of me. And though I 
never had a fight in my life, I have wished it to appear that my 
people on both sides of the house have been soldiers on every oc- 
casion when their country and their country's cause needed defense. 
Several of my nephews saw active service throughout our partici- 
pation in the World War, and my oldest son was in training when 

Musings of a Mountaineer 5 

the Armistice was signed. And may I say just one more word in 
this connection? I have always believed that my mother and my 
five sisters were the most perfect Christians that I have ever known. 
They had a code and rules of conduct that they lived by every day 
of their lives, and when their final summons came they were not 
afraid to die by them. I can say the same of my father. It was said 
of my mother by the family and her neighbors, many of whom are 
still living, that she was never known to speak a word of harm of 
any person. It was her motto and she so advised her children: "If 
you cannot find something good to say about a person, do not say 
anything at all." The Christian lives of parents and sisters such 
as these were an inspiration to me, and from them I learned to 
respect and reverence every person's religion, whether I agreed with 
him in all its phases or not. And so, if I were in the wilds of Africa 
and should see a savage worshipping a snake; or in the forests of 
India, I should see a Hindu worshipping a Sacred Cow; or if in 
Peru, I should see a descendant of the Incas worshipping the sun or 
the Sacred Fire, were it the best they knew I would stand before 
them with uncovered head, for I know that inherently mankind 
must worship something. 

For the first sixteen years of my life I was practically a "house- 
ridden" invalid. I was born with asthma in its most severe form. 
The first sixteen years, my life was for the most part a struggle 
for breath. A hundred nights I have leaned out of an upstairs 
window in the old home, all night long, in order that I might 
breathe the pine-scented air blowing gently down from the nearby 
mountains. I had another affliction. From my earliest recollections, 
for more than half of my life, until recent years, I suffered peri- 
odically indescribable pain from sick headaches. This last named 
affliction has been my greatest drawback in life; for during the 
attacks, and many days following, I was unfit for physical or 
mental effort. I recovered from asthma as the result of an attack of 
whooping cough which lasted less than a week, a vindication of 
the homeopathic theory that as one poison will counteract the effect 
of another poison, so one disease will cure another. I cured sick 
headache by requiring myself to eat a widely varied diet, and by 
practicing regular habits of eating and sleeping. 

During these days of my so-called invalidism, I was the general 
"chore" boy for the family. I would go to mill, drive up the cows 
to be milked, and perform other services around the farm which 

6 Random Thoughts and the 

did not require such violent physical exertion as would invariably 
bring on an attack of asthma. This period of my life was during 
the days when matches were scarce and costly. We usually bought 
one box a year. They came in round wooden boxes, containing one 
hundred matches, at the price of fifty cents per box. So if we ran 
out of matches and happened to let the fire go out, it was usually 
one of my duties to go to a neighbor's house to "borrow a chunk 
of fire". Looking back over the years, it seems to me now that I 
must have walked a hundred miles, ail told, on missions like this. 
But ail the neighbors were sooner or later guilty of negligence in 
allowing the fire to go out. We did not have any temples erected 
to the honor of Vesta in those days, nor Vestal Virgins to keep the 
fires perpetually burning. 

During the period about which I am writing, the public school 
money allotted to our District was sufficient only to employ one 
teacher for a term of six weeks. Sometimes, but not always, this six 
weeks term was extended for a month or two by "subscriptions", 
or contributions of the patrons to be applied on the teacher's salary. 
When I reached the age of seventeen my father sent me for one 
full session to the old Cullowhee High School (now Western 
Carolina Teachers' College) . The school was then starting into the 
second year of its life, it having been established the year before 
by Professor Robert L. Madison, a scholarly young man from 
Virginia. He is now the honored and much beloved President- 
Emeritus of Western Carolina Teachers' College, into which the 
old country High School which he established in 1889, has de- 

Entering the High School, in which unprepared students could 
begin at the bottom, I was admitted to the Intermediate Department 
in August, 1890. My father kept me there throughout the ten 
months session. He was one of those big-hearted men who could 
never say "No" to any one needing help, was always on notes 
and bonds for other people, and when I went home in May, 1891, 
to assist on the farm, the crash had already overtaken him, a calam- 
ity which usually overtakes those who pledge their property in 
this manner. All of his boundary of land was sold at auction, and 
was purchased by a fine old gentleman by the name of Henry 
Coons of New York, for whom my father had rendered a service 
some years before. As soon as the title had been transferred, this 
generous old gentleman sent down his agreement in writing, therein 

Musings of a Mountaineer 7 

permitting my father and mother to continue to live on and use as 
their home, this entire property for the remainder of their lives; 
and this they did. 

When time came for school the following fall, my father told 
me that it was utterly impossible for him to send me that year, but 
that if I could make any arrangements of my own he would bid 
me God-speed, and help me any way that he could. Accordingly, 
in August I packed what few clothes and books I had, in my old 
canvas "telescope" (valise), and in a day walked from the old 
home all the way to Cullowhee, a distance of twenty-eight miles. 
Upon my arrival there, Professor Madison, at a sacrifice that I 
can see more plainly now than then, allowed me the opportunity 
to go through the entire session, with the payment of tuition 
deferred until I could earn it after the session had ended. By 
working evenings and mornings I reduced my board bill, so that 
for that item and tuition I owed only the sum of $53.00 at the 
end of the school year; but I had only fifty cents in spending money 
during the entire session! 

The following summer after assisting to make and to harvest 
the crop, I served a surveyor for a while, in the mountains of 
Macon County. From this work I saved $12.50, and when Christ- 
mas came I went to Atlanta, Georgia, and worked for a contractor 
and builder for six months at a wage of one dollar per day; the 
work consisting of carrying brick and lumber. Here I saved a suf- 
ficient amount to fully discharge my school debts and to buy a few 
much-needed clothes. 

In the meantime my two remaining unmarried brothers took 
unto themselves wives, and it became necessary for me to go home 
just at a time when I had arranged to attend a night school in 
Atlanta, indefinitely. My unmarried sister, a teacher in the Atlanta 
schools, who had splendid prospects for promotion as a teacher, 
gave up her profession and came home with me. 

For three years I operated the old home farm, with a limited 
supply of stock and tools, but was able to make a comfortable 
living for all of us. In the meantime I became acquainted with 
Professor Greer of Erskine College at Abbeville, South Carolina, 
he having spent the summer in my father's home. He returned to 
Abbeville and made arrangements for me to get my books free 
of charge, and a boarding place in the home of an old couple where 
I could pay my board by looking after their cow, fires, and like 

S Random Thoughts and the 

odd jobs, until I finished the four-year college course, with the 
assurance that during the vacations I could earn ample money for 
the item of clothing. So here, I was confronted with an alternative 
choice between a great opportunity and a great privilege — the 
opportunity to obtain a college education, and the privilege of 
caring for a grand old father and a saintly mother in their helpless 
old age. I chose the privilege and declined the opportunity. 

This ended my hope for a college education; but all through 
my life from that time on, I have been able to appreciate the truth 
in the beautiful lines of Walter H. Malone on Opportunity: 

"They do me wrong who say I come no more, 
When once I knock and fail to find you in! 
For every day I stand beside your door, 
And bid you work, and rise to fight and win. 

Wail not for precious chances passed away, 
Weep not for golden ages on the wane! 
Each night I burn the records of the day — 
At sunrise every soul is born again. 

Laugh like a boy at splendors that have fled, 
To vanished joys be blind and deaf and dumb; 
My judgments seal the dead past with its dead, 
But never bind a moment yet to come. 

Though deep in mire wring not your hands and weep; 
I lend my arm to all who say "I can"; 
No shame- faced outcast ever sank so deep 
But he might rise and be again a man. 

Dost thou behold thy lost youth all aghast? 
Dost reel from righteous retribution's blow? 
Then turn from blotted archives of the past 
And find the future's pages white as snow. 

Art thou a mourner? Rouse thee from thy spell! 
Art thou a sinner? Sins may be forgiven! 
Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell, 
Each night a Star to guide thy feet to Heaven." 

Musings of a Mountaineer 9 

Now, in order to show that opportunity will not cease to knock 
at your door, even when he has knocked once and "failed to find 
you in"; and also to show how the seemingly unimportant events 
of life succeed one another; how the simple things, those events 
which, when standing alone are of but little, if any, significance, 
but which, when taken together as a connected whole make up 
the sum of life, it will be necessary to go back several years. 

When I was eight or nine years of age one of my brothers made 
for me a banjo, using for his material a cheese hoop, a tanned 
ground-hog skin, and wood that he worked into shape with 
knife and drawing knife, for the banjo's neck. We made the strings 
of "J. & P. Coat's Spool Cotton", by twisting strands of thread 
into the properly varying sizes, and then waxing them with home 
made beeswax. When the banjo was finished I soon learned to 
play on it, not only hymns, but all the old mountain melodies that 
I had ever heard; and for years, being the only person in that area 
who could play the banjo, I made the music for the mountain 
dances in my own section and in the adjoining Counties, not only 
in this State, but, on occasion, in South Carolina and Georgia. 

There came a time when quite a flood deluged our mountain 
valleys. There were no bridges spanning our streams. Co-incident 
with this disaster a man by the name of Childs, and his sister, both 
of New York City, were water-bound at my father's home for 
several days. One day this gentleman saw my banjo and asked 
what it was, and I told him, it being the only banjo I had ever 
seen up to that time. He asked me to play for him. I told him I 
had a broken string, but that I could soon make another one. I 
asked my mother for some thread from her sewing basket, and 
then from a spool of "J. & P. Coats" I made and waxed a string 
and played for the gentleman all the tunes I knew. When I had 
finished he asked to see the thread. He then said: "I own the 
majority of the stock in the Company that makes this thread. I 
knew that it was good for many things, but did not know before 
that it was good for making banjo strings. When I return to New 
York I shall send you the best set of banjo strings that I can find 
in the City." Upon his return he sent me, not only many sets of 
strings, but a very expensive banjo, the best one in fact that I have 
ever seen. It was after this that I commenced playing for the 

10 Random Thoughts and the 

mountain dances. At that time the "Trade-mark" for this thread, 
which was seen posted on the store fronts, trees, and other public 
places, had on it the picture of a barefooted boy standing on a 
brook-side, fishing with a line made of this thread. Printed on 
the sign were the words, "J. & P. Coats' Spool Cotton is strong." 
A few months after my receiving the banjo from Mr. Chiids he 
wrote me that he had induced his Board of Directors to change 
the picture on their advertisement, and soon thereafter was seen 
posted on the store fronts and other public places the same ad- 
vertisement as before, but with the picture of a barefooted boy 
playing a banjo with strings made of J. & P. Coats' Spool Cotton. 

Now, in order to satisfy the hundreds who are continually 
writing me about it and asking for copies of it, I will here tell 
the story of my banjo ballad, "Kidder Cole." Is was composed when 
I was sixteen years of age. It was my first, last and only attempt 
at poetry, and of course there is not a line of poetry in it. Except 
for the fact that Miss Cole did not "change her name to Alley", 
the ballad speaks for itself, and adheres rather closely to the facts 
as they occurred. 

The ballad has been sung over the radio from various stations 
for many years. It is sung and played with banjo accompaniment 
wherever the mountain melodies are used. The ballad, and various 
stories as to its origin have often appeared in many of the daily 
newspapers and magazines, and the ballad itself has been included 
in several different editions of "Folk Songs". Let it be here under- 
stood, however, that all this has been without my knowledge or 
procurement. Like all songs that are handed around by word of 
mouth, many words, and sometimes whole lines of the ballad, have 
been changed. After writing the ballad, I composed (by ear) the 
music or melody to which the words are sung. When I have heard 
it over the radio I have observed no change in the tune or melody, 
although some of the words were slightly varied. 

In its issue of October 10, 1936, The State Magazine, of Raleigh, 
North Carolina, carried the story and the correct version of my 
ballad, the story having been written by one of its reporters, John 
A. Parris, Jr., formerly of Jackson County, and now a War corre- 
spondent in Europe. Mr. Parris published his article and the ballad 
without my knowledge. I here quote the lines as they appear in 
the magazine: 

Musings of a Mountaineer 11 

"My name is Felix Eugene Alley, 
My best girl lives in Cashiers Valley; 
She's the joy of my soul 
And her name is Kidder Cole. 

I don't know — it may have been chance, 

'Way last fall when I went to a dance, 

I planned to dance with Kidder the live-long night 

But I got my time beat by Charlie Wright. 

So, if I ever have to have a fight, 

I hope it will be with Charlie Wright, 

For he was the ruin of my soul 

When he beat my time with Kidder Cole. 

When the dance was over I went away 

To bide my time till another day, 

When I could cause trouble and pain and blight 

To sadden the soul of Charlie Wright. 

I thought my race was almost run 
When Kidder went off to Anderson; 
She went to Anderson to go to school, 
And left me at home to act the fool. 

But she came back the following spring, 
And Oh, how I made my banjo ring; 
It helped me to get my spirit right, 
To beat the time of Charlie Wright. 

Kidder came home the first of June, 
And I sang my song and played my tune; 
I commenced trying with all my might 
To 'put one over' on Charlie Wright. 

I did not feel the least bit shy, 
On the Fourth of the next July, 
When at the head of a big delegation 
I went to attend the big Celebration. 

12 Random Thoughts and the 

When the speaking was over we had a dance, 

And then and there I found my chance 

To make my peace with Kidder Cole, 

And beat Charlie Wright; confound his soul! 

Charlie came in an hour or so, 

But when he saw me with Kidder he turned to go 

Back to his home with a saddened soul, 

For I'd beat his time with Kidder Cole. 

I've always heard the old folks say 
That every dog will have his day; 
And now all of Charlie's joy has passed 
For IVe succeeded in beating him at last. 

Oh, my sweet little Kidder girl! 
You make my head to spin and whirl, 
I am yours and you are mine, 
As long as the sun and stars shall shine. 

Oh, yesy my Kidder Cole is sweet, 
And it won't be long till we shall meet, 
At her home in Cashiers Valley 
Where she'll change her name to Alley. 

I like her family as a whole, 
But I'm especially fond of George M. Cole; 
I believe I shall like to call him *paw' 
When I get to be his son-in-law. 

Some of her folks I don't like so well, 
But I may some time, for who can tell? 
And after all between me and you 
I'm not marrying the whole durned crew." 

I will say here that Charlie Wright whose name appears in the 
foregoing lines is the same man who performed the heroic and 
miraculous feat of rescuing Baty from the brink of a two thousand 
foot precipice on Whiteside Mountain, a full account of which 

Musings of a Mountaineer 13 

appears in this Volume in Chapter XXVI, at pages 490, and 

Soon after I declined the opportunity for the college course at 
Abbeville, I "swapped", or exchanged, my banjo for two books, a 
small volume of General History, and a book of speeches — political, 
legal, educational and religious. These speeches were not only 
eloquent, but were packed with learning on a wide range of sub- 
jects. I read and studied them during every spare hour, and the 
more I read them the more intense became my yearning for a more 
thorough education, and they became the greatest incentive and 
inspiration of my life. It had been the great desire of my mother 
and father, and in fact of the whole family, that I should be given 
the advantages of a college education. This was now out of the 
question; but it was determined that I must at least finish the High 
School Course at Cullowhee. So after arranging with a young 
colored man to stay at home to do the outside work for my sister, 
when the last of the crops had been harvested in the late fall I 
loaded an ox wagon with bedding, a few cooking utensils, and an 
abundance of home-grown provisions of every kind. I went to 
Cullowhee, rented a small one room cabin on a mountain-side 
more than a mile from the school, and became my own cook, 
laundryman, and house-keeper for a period of six months; and I 
not only kept up with my classes, but made up for the months I 
had missed by having to start so long after the session had begun. 
I went home before the end of the session in time to put in and culti- 
vate a crop; and the next year I went back to school in the same 

In the meantime my sister married and her husband was good 
enough to live at the old home place for a year or two; so this 
made it possible for me to remain in school to the end of the 
session, and to graduate with the class of 1896. 

It was my father's earnest wish that at least one of his boys 
should become a lawyer. The idea did not appeal to any of my 
four older brothers. My father had studied law as a young man. 
He was for some time Tax Collector in Rutherford County. He 
spent his spare time studying law. There were no railroads, and 
about four times a year he had to make a horseback trip to Raleigh 
to carry the tax money to the State Treasury. On his return trips 
he would come by Judge Pearson's home, "Richmond Hill" on the 
Yadkin, go over what he had read for the preceding three months, 

14 Random Thoughts and the 

and have his reading assigned for the succeeding three months. He 
never did practice, but he was one of the Justices of the old Court 
of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Jackson County from 
the time of the organization of the County in 1851, until the 
adoption of the Constitution of 1868. The ablest lawyers in the 
western part of the State practiced in that Court. Men like 
Michael Francis, the Davidsons, the Averys, and others. I have 
heard men of the former generation, like Judge George A. Jones, 
General Theodore Davidson, and others, say that they had never 
talked with any lawyer who had a greater grasp and knowledge of 
the fundamental principles of the law than my father had. So, it 
was determined that I should at least have my chance to study law. 

I managed to borrow three hundred dollars on long time — a 
sum which I thought might be sufficient to pay for a one year 
course at the State University. I went there in the Fall of 1897, 
and pursued the course until I had passed my examinations on the 
first and second books of Blackstone. My mother became very 
sick at this time, and I came home and remained with her until 
she recovered. My money was exhausted, and I could not go in debt 
further, so all hope of further study in a law school was abandoned. 
My father advised me that the next best law school was the office 
of Clerk of the Superior Court; and in the spring of 1898 I 
entered the lists as a candidate for the nomination. At first I had 
four opponents, but one by one they withdrew, and I received the 
nomination by acclamation. The County was Republican at the 
time, but I managed to squeeze through by a majority of fifty- 
seven votes. In order that I might hold the office after I had 
won it, one of my brothers left his own farm and came to the old 
home to live for a year or so. He had to leave to take a position in 
another County, and another brother left his own farm and lived 
with our parents for the remainder of their lives. I can say with 
truth that all of us considered it a privilege, and not a burden, to 
do all we could for our parents in their helpless old age; and each 
one of us tried to do more than any of the others. 

During my term of office I continued my legal studies at night 
without an instructor, and upon the expiration of my term I suc- 
cessfully passed the examination and received my license to practice 

After standing my examination before the Supreme Court at 
Raleigh I had some very interesting experiences before reaching 

Musings of a Mountaineer 15 

home. At the time I stood my examination I had a wife and two 
children. I had a home at Webster, but I owed Five Hundred 
Dollars. So I had barely enough money for the trip to Raleigh, 
including the fee of $23.50 for my license. My wife had cooked 
for me a box of provisions, which had saved the outlay of any 
considerable amount of money for my meals. On the return trip 
my train was delayed for several hours on account of a wreck in 
front of us; so when I reached Asheville I found that my train 
to Dillsboro had left several hours before. This made it necessary 
for me to spend the night in Asheville. I knew of a place near 
Pack Square, at least two miles from the railroad, where I could 
get lodging for fifty cents. I counted my money (I had a return 
ticket) and found that I had sixty cents left. This was enough 
to pay for my lodging, and for street car fare one way, with still 
a nickle left for a cup of coffee the following morning. I had 
carried with me to Raleigh all the law books required in the course 
of study. I am sure they would have weighed at least fifty pounds. 
I carried this load of books from the station to my lodging place 
two miles away, ate for my supper the remnants of the food my 
wife had prepared for me, paid fifty cents for my lodging, five 
cents for car fare to the station the next morning, and five cents 
for a cup of coffee. I rode to Dillsboro on my return ticket and 
then walked the four miles to Webster, carrying my fifty pounds 
of law books. When my license came a week later I rented a little 
office in the Courthouse at Webster. It was situated under the 
stairway which led up to the Court room. The room was about 
eight by ten feet in size with two windows. 

Most of the books which I had used in preparation for the ex- 
amination had been borrowed. After returning them I had five 
books of my own — Blackstone's Commentaries, Clark on Contracts, 
Clark on Corporations, Clark's Code of Civil Procedure, and Sims' 
North Carolina Forms. I procured an empty goods box that exactly 
fitted one of the windows, and when I had placed my law library 
of five books on this improvised shelf I found that they filled one 
third of the space; and it was my greatest ambition at that time 
to fill that shelf with law books. Thus equipped, I hung out my 
shingle, and announced to the world and to all who had law suits 
that if they would bring their cases to me they could get them 

My first practice was before Judge W. A. Hoke — May God 

16 Random Thoughts and the 

rest his noble soul! I appeared in thirteen misdemeanor cases, and 
with Judge Hoke's timely assistance I won eleven of them. From 
that time forth until the day I went on the Bench I had all the 
practice that I could attend to properly, which made it possible 
for me to own, at the time I went on the Bench, a law library of 
some two thousand volumes and a private library of more than 
a thousand volumes. 

Among my first cases was one in which I defended our old family 
darky, "Uncle"' Jordan Prater. He was working for my father-in- 
law when my wife was a baby, and when we married Jordan came 
to us and remained with us till he died some twenty years later. 
I was not at home when he died, but his devotion and fidelity to 
my wife and children had been such, that as I now recall, it con- 
sumed about all the money I was able to save for the next two or 
three years to defray the funeral expenses of that loyal servant. 
He was indicted for disturbing a meeting at the colored church; 
hence his need of my legal aid. The principal witness against him 
was "Uncle" Major Wells, a fine old-time darky who had gone 
clear through the Civil War by his master's side. "Uncle" Major 
was inclined to indulge in big words. When I took him on cross- 
examination I asked him: " 'Uncle' Major, what did 'Uncle' 
Jordan do when he came into the church?" "Uncle" Major replied: 
"Well, suh, when I first Vision Brudder Jordan he was perabu- 
latin' down the aisle, gesticulatin' a knife in his hand wid a long 
open blade in it." I then asked: "Was 'Uncle* Jordan saying any- 
thing?" "Uncle" Major replied: "Yas-suh, he say, Widen, Nig- 
gers'!" I next asked: "When 'Uncle' Jordan told them to 'widen' 
what did they do?" "Uncle" Major, with a very serious look on 
his face, said: "Dey widen!" After the witness had graphically de- 
scribed how some of them went out head first through the windows, 
with a majority of them crowding toward the door, I inquired: 
"What did the preacher say, if anything?" "Uncle" Major replied: 
"He say, 'damn a church dat ain't got but one do'!" 

Many years later I had another experience with "Uncle" Major. 
His son came over to Haywood County to work at a sawmill. In a 
few days he got into a row with a colored man from West Virginia 
and killed him. "Uncle" Major came over and employed me to 
defend his boy. I did my best both in the trial and in my speech to 
the jury. In my speech I paid a high tribute to "Uncle" Major, 
which I could see that he greatly enjoyed. After the Judge had 

Musings of a Mountaineer 17 

charged the jury a lawyer- friend of mine was walking up the 
street, and as he passed a group of negroes they appeared to be in 
a heated discussion as to who was the ablest lawyer attending that 
term of Court. Opinion was widely divided, and heatedly con- 
tested. Finally "Uncle" Major arose in all his dignity and said: 
"Gemmuns, I'se got nothing to say dat could be residered harmful 
to any of de gemmuns you alls has been recussing. But I'se done 
been waiting on all de Judges and lawyers dat come to Leather- 
wood's Hotel at Webster for night on to fifty years; and I tells 
you now dat dis here Mr. Felix Alley sho' is de bes' nigger lawyer 
dat attends dese Co'ts!'" 

"Uncle" Major's confidence in me reminds me of the faith which 
Uncle Rastus had in his lawyer. Uncle Rastus was indicted for 
stealing chickens. He was defended by a young lawyer fresh from 
college, who made a most eloquent speech in behalf of his client. 
After he was acquitted Uncle Rastus went to his lawyer's office 
to thank him. His lawyer said: "Uncle Rastus, I got you out of 
your trouble and did not charge you a fee. Now I want you to tell 
me the truth. Did you steal those chickens?" Uncle Rastus scratched 
his head, walled his eyes, and replied: "Well, Boss, at de first start 
I wuz inclined to de 'pinion dat I did 'liminate dem chickens; but 
after listenin' to your speech my min' is full of reasonable doubts. 
I now doubts whedder I was any ways nigh dat chicken roos'!" 

Two years after settling at Webster I was nominated by accla- 
mation for the Legislature and was elected. In 1910 I was elected 
Solicitor of my District. I did not ask for a second term. In 1913 
I moved to Waynesville where I have since resided. From the time 
I ran for Clerk of the Superior Court, up to and including the 
campaign of 1932, I actively engaged in every speaking campaign 
at my own expense, and I have tried to uphold the banner of my 
party in most of the Counties of the State, and in some other 
States as well. 

At no time in my life have I ever learned or played games of 
any character. I have found more pleasure and profit in devoting 
every spare hour to reading and study; and in this way I have 
sought to make up for the lack of college training. 

I engaged actively in the practice of law from the time I re- 
ceived my North Carolina license until January, 1933, when 
Governor Ehringhaus tendered me the appointment to the Superior 
Court Bench of my District, to fill a two year vacancy caused 

18 Random Thoughts and the 

by the death of Judge Walter E. Moore. I had not sought the 
appointment, and had not asked for an endorsement, although I 
was later told by Governor Ehringhaus himself that I had a 
splendid endorsement sent in voluntarily by many of my friends, 
by way of telegram, letter and petition. Two years later I was 
nominated for the full judicial term by an average majority of 
more than a thousand votes for each of the seven Counties com- 
posing my District. I had served in the Legislature with Governor 
Ehringhaus in 1905, so it was a great pleasure to me to support him 
actively when he became a candidate for Governor in 1932. I 
virtually closed my office for weeks, and in his behalf I visited 
about all the Counties west of the Blue Ridge. It was a labor of 
love on my part, and it never occurred to me that I would ever 
seek, or that I would ever receive, the appointment to the high 
office to which he elevated me. In fact the vacancy did not occur 
until six or seven months after he was nominated; and the appoint- 
ment having been altogether voluntary on his part, it was the more 
deeply appreciated by me. I doubt if any State in our Union has 
ever had a grander galaxy of statesmen to fill the exalted office of 
Governor than North Carolina has had all the way from Charles 
B. Aycock to J. Melvin Broughton inclusive. In my sincere opinion 
none has filled that position with greater dignity, grace, and ability 
than J. C. B. Ehringhaus. If it shall be said that I am a biased 
witness, I plead guilty to "the soft impeachment". But with confi- 
dent assurance I point to the record, knowing full well that my 
assertion cannot be successfully gainsaid. Let us see. Governor 
Gardner, himself a great Governor, had the misfortune to inherit 
the depression of 1929, with all its devastating consequences; and 
without any fault of his, our State had a deficit, toward the close 
of his administration, of some twelve to fourteen million dollars. 
Our creditors in New York were threatening to declare a default, 
and to my own knowledge Governor Ehringhaus made two or three 
trips to New York to plead for time, assuring these creditors that 
their securities would be paid. And they were paid, and the honor 
and the integrity of North Carolina were saved; and, from that 
time on, northern capital has eagerly sought investment in North 
Carolina securities at the lowest rate of interest ever known. 

Governor Ehringhaus was called upon to make many decisions 
which required courage of the highest order. He solved every 
problem wisely and well. Our schools did not close for a day. Our 

Musings of a Mountaineer 19 

teachers were promptly paid. The State moved forward in every 
line of its activities, and Governor Ehringhaus turned the State 
over to his successor in the most prosperous condition that it had 
ever enjoyed in its entire history. I acknowledge my gratitude to 
him. He gave me the greatest opportunity for usefulness that I 
have ever had. I believe that no official in our State Government is 
clothed with graver responsibilities and greater power for the ac- 
complishment of good than the Superior Court Judge. And I do 
know that all through the western half of the State there are scores 
of boys to whom I have given another chance who are today on the 
high road to successful and useful lives. I do know that I have seen 
heaven shining in many a mother's eyes when I have "tempered 
justice with mercy" in the judgments that I have pronounced upon 
her boy. And I also know that during my more than eight years 
of service on the Superior Court Bench I have never exhibited the 
slightest impatience toward any person who sought a hearing of his 
grievances in my Courts; and up to now I have never spoken an 
unkind, abrupt, or discourteous word to any lawyer, officer, party, 
witness, juror, or any one else in any Court over which I have 
presided. Among all civilized people courtesy is current coin always 
and everywhere. Savage tribes appreciate it, and even the dull, 
dumb beasts recognize it. I believe in the gospel of sunshine and the 
religion of kindness. They are the essence of the Golden Rule, the 
hand-maiden of love. It is just as easy to be kind as to be otherwise. 
It costs nothing, and it makes all of us feel so much better. Without 
it no association can be pleasant, no home can be happy, and no 
Court can properly function. 

Among my acquaintances I recognize no enemies. If I have any 
they stand alone in that capacity, and our feelings cannot be mutual. 
From the time I first engaged in professional life, I have made it a 
rule, each night before permitting myself to go to sleep, to look 
back over the events of the day in order that I may recall whether 
any thing has occurred that I should forget and forgive. Such is 
my philosophy of life. 

My wife has remained at home and toiled incessantly in the 
rearing of our children, so that I might go out into the world and 
seek such opportunities as were within my reach. She and my hosts 
of friends have made it possible for me to achieve whatever of 
success I have enjoyed. They have made it possible for me to give 
to my four children a better chance in life than I have had — the 


advantage of a college education such as I yearned for but could 
not have. They have made it possible for me to give my three boys 
their legal education in the best law schools in the State; and I have 
been permitted to live to see them enter the noble profession of the 
law, which I love so much, with success within their reach, and 
waiting only for them to reach out and grasp it. And so, the dark 
clouds pass; but the blue sky abides forever. 

Oh, yes; I owe a debt to my friends that can never be repaid. 

"The monarch may forget the crown 
That on his head so late hath been; 
The bridegroom may forget the bride 
Was made his own but yester e'en; 
The mother may forget the babe 
That smiled so sweetly on her knee; 
But I cannot forget my friends, 
And all that they have done for me." 


And he was called the friend of God. James 2: 23. 

On the 6th day of June, 1912, in response to his written request, 
I delivered in Raleigh, North Carolina, the only nominating speech 
for Hon. Locke Craig for Governor. The speech was published in 
the leading daily papers of the State. The following is the report of 
the speech as it appeared in the Asheville Citizen, June 7, 1912: 


Ex-Governor Glenn introduced Francis D. Winston, the per- 
manent Chairman, who discussed Democracy's prospects for success 
at the polls next November, and declared his purpose to rule the 
Convention in a fair and impartial manner. Ex-Governor Glenn 
moved the nomination for the Gubernatorial office at 3:50, and 
Hon. Felix E. Alley of Jackson County was introduced to nominate 
Honorable Locke Craig of Buncombe County. 
Mr. Alley, who was received with cheers, said: 
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Convention: 
A few weeks ago a great throng of people assembled in this hall 
to drop a tear and pay the last tribute of respect to North Carolina's 
most distinguished statesman and best loved citizen. When the news 
flashed across the State that Governor Aycock was dead, the hearts 
of our whole people, without regard to party, or race, or condition, 
were robed in sorrow as they had been at no other time since the 
death of the great Vance. 

After serving with distinguished ability in the councils of his 
country for more than half a century, our great Governor has 
descended to his last resting place in the City of the Dead, and his 
manly form is wrapped today in the cold embrace of the tomb. 
That magic voice which so often thrilled the hearts of his admiring 
listeners is hushed today in the stillness of the eternal silence. The 

22 Random Thoughts and the 

multitude shall no longer hang spell-bound on his impassioned 
words, and never again will our souls be uplifted at the sight of his 
inspired and noble face. Never again will our people be instructed 
by the outpourings of his profound intellect, matured as it was by 
his long experience, and enriched by copious streams from the 
fountains of knowledge. The products of his great and cultivated 
mind and the wonderful results of his well-spent life are all that 
remain to us of that kingly man. But the world rolls on, and nature 
loses none of its charms. The grass loses none of its freshness. The 
sun still shines with undiminished splendor and the flowers of spring 
still come to fill the air with fragrance. Nature, untouched by 
human woe, prescribes the immutable law of Providence that decay 
always follows growth, and that He who takes away never fails 
to give. 

I have been commissioned by the Democratic Party of Western 
North Carolina to present this assembled host of Democratic rep- 
resentatives, as your candidate for Governor, a man who we con- 
fidently believe more nearly than any other, is capable and worthy 
of taking the place of our great ex-Governor, not only in the coun- 
cils of his country, but in the love and esteem of his countrymen. 

I know it is customary in a nominating speech that something be 
said in detail of the character, achievements, and attainments of the 
man to be named. But what can I tell you of the man whose name 
I shall presently mention that is not already known? Who is un- 
acquainted with his great services to his party and his State? Where 
is the man who does not know that he has already done enough 
and done it well enough to win for him the everlasting gratitude 
of the people of North Carolina? 

For twenty-five years and more, in all the political storms that 
have swept over this State he has stood upon the field of battle 
among the leaders of the Democratic hosts, presenting the gospel of 
Democracy with the zeal of an apostle, without reward, except that 
reward which comes from the consciousness of duty nobly dis- 
charged. But I do not present his claims to you upon the ground of 
party service. The Democratic Party does not owe him one single 
cent. True it is, that through all these years, like the spring that 
gushes out of the mountainside and pours forth unceasingly its life 
giving fluid, this patriotic, unselfish man has devoted the prime of 
his splendid manhood to the service of the Democratic Party. With 
him it has been a labor of love, for he is one of those who believe 

Musings of a Mountaineer 23 

that it is the duty of every citizen to devote to his country's service 
the talents that Almighty God has given him. But I do insist that 
the Democratic Party owes it to itself and to the people whose 
destinies have been committed to its keeping to make grateful and 
substantial recognition of its workers who have grown gray in its 
service. I do insist that if public office should ever be bestowed as 
a reward for public service, no man more than he deserves this 
reward. If 'public office is a public trust', then into no safer hands 
can be committed this the greatest trust in the gift of the people of 
North Carolina. If public office was created for the welfare of the 
whole people, then under his leadership we may confidently hope 
and expect to carry out all the great policies for which the Demo- 
cratic Party stands. No man in North Carolina is better fitted for 
this great task. He believes sincerely in the principles of the Demo- 
cratic Party, and he has always sought, and, as Governor of this 
State he will continue to promote, what he conceives to be the 
public good by placing its measures and its men in control of the 
Government under which he lives. 

As an orator he has had no superior, and but few, if any, equals 
in the entire history of the State. With a self-possession never for 
a moment disturbed; with a mental concentration which no excite- 
ment can shake; with a will that never falters, and a courage that 
never fails; with a voice, rich, musical, and resonant, sounding forth 
like a bugle-call to action, or modulated into the soft seductive 
notes of the flute, wooing the affection, — with all these gifts and 
attainments has he won enduring fame! 

But while he is a Democrat, loyal and enthusiastic, and is devoted 
to every principle for which his party stands, yet his respect for 
opposing opinions is so gentle, and his manner of meeting them in 
discussion is so free from bitterness, that prejudice melts away in 
his presence and leaves his hearers with unbiased minds to weigh 
his clear and forcible arguments. And it has been this disposition, 
dealing justly with opposing views, his zeal tempered with respect 
for his adversary, as well as his splendid ability and his superb 
eloquence, that have made him a guilding power, and, for all these 
years, the recognized leader of the Democratic Party in Western 
North Carolina. But behind the orator is the man, with a spotless 
character and a noble soul, firm in his adherence to principle, un- 
swerving in his ideas of the right, and devoted in his observance 
of the rules which guide the good citizen in private life; and it is 

24 Random Thoughts and the 

traits like these shining out like stars, over the pathway of his life, 
that fill the hearts of his friends and followers with abundant pride 
and joy today. 

Perhaps his greatest service to the State, in any single instance, 
was the magnificent fight he made in behalf of the Constitutional 
Amendment. It is well known that this measure was unpopular in 
the West. We knew nothing of the evils of negro domination. We 
had never been threatened with its dangers and its curses. But in 
that dark and doubtful hour, his voice was the first to rise above the 
storm, and in all the Counties of the West he sounded to our people 
the note of danger and alarm. He told us that the adoption of the 
Amendment would result in the temporary defeat of the Demo- 
cratic Party in our Western Counties. But he told us that our 
brothers in the East were in distress; he told us that the white 
womanhood of Eastern Carolina was in peril; and with their ears 
attuned to the musical touch of his eloquence, the chivalry and 
manhood of the mountaineers were aroused, and the whole State 
heard their answer as it echoed through the hills. And as he foresaw 
and foretold, the flag of the Democratic Party in the Western 
Counties went down in defeat, but the banner of white supremacy 
and white man's government was planted where it will wave tri- 
umphantly for a thousand years. 

And I stand in this magnificent presence, without the fear of 
successful contradiction from any quarter, and assert that this man 
did more for the success of that wise measure than any other man 
in North Carolina, living or dead. And I shall prove my assertion 
by testimony which no man will dare impeach, and which no man 
can dispute without sacrilege. Governor Aycock, in presenting him 
to the State Convention at Charlotte four years ago, and referring 
to the speech which he heard him make when opening the campaign 
at Laurinburg in 1898, used these words: "From that hour I never 
doubted for one moment the redemption of North Carolina, and 
her restoration to decent, orderly, and economic government. Until 
the great victory in November, 1898, this young man never ceased 
his labors. From Currituck to Cherokee he carried his message of 
courage and hope, nor did he stop his work with the election; for 
the people of his County, filled with his enthusiasm, awakened by 
his cry of alarm and shouting that the cause of New Hanover and 
Craven is the cause of Buncombe, sent him to the Legislature, 
where with wisdom, zeal and untiring energy he labored with his 

Musings of a Mountaineer 25 

fellow-workers until the Constitutional Amendment had been for- 
mulated and submitted to the people. When this was done, he was 
the first to take up the task of making clear to the people the 
provisions of that wise Act, and from one end of North Carolina 
to the other, but particularly in the mountains, where the evil of 
negro domination was not so well known, he labored unceasingly 
until 50,000 majority of the people of the State had forever settled 
the race issue and made good government possible for all time to 
come. He had won that election before I commenced my campaign". 
So, my friends, when the question shall be asked who is the man 
that did most for the success of the Constitutional Amendment, 
from the portals of high Heaven the answer will come ringing 
down to us in the language of our sainted ex-Governor, "Locke 
Craig is the man!" 

Four years ago his friends sought for him the nomination for 
Governor of this State. We believed that by virtue of his distin- 
guished and unrewarded service he deserved the recognition we 
sought. We believed that, in view of the past history of our section 
of the State, we had the right to ask this recognition at the hands 
of the Democratic Party. We believed then, and we believe now, 
and we shall always believe, that he was then, and that he still is, 
the peer of any man who ever held that high office. The convention 
came, and for days and nights the contest was waged; but at the 
last the banner of our great leader went down wet with our tears. 
Then when the memorable contest was ended, true to his noble 
magnanimity and true to the past history of his unselfish life, he 
came before that great convention and, in a speech whose beauty 
and eloquence and pathos melted a thousand strong men to sobs, 
placed the laurel wreath of honor upon the brow of his successful 

But, my friends, with the feeling of pain and disappointment in 
the hearts of his friends, there was mingled a feeling of pride and 
of exceeding great joy. It is said that when the Hebrew children 
were cast into the furnace with its seven- fold heat, there appeared 
to the astonished gaze of the Babylonish King another form, of 
celestial aspect, walking with them in the midst of the flames and 
comforting them in their fiery afflictions. And when the smoke of 
the great convention cleared away, we beheld Locke Craig still 
standing erect, *a sovereign among his peers', his garments un- 
scorched, without even the smell of fire, still wearing on his brow 

26 Random Thoughts and the 

the ineffaceable impress of a clean, honest, and upright man, and 
on his breast the white rose of an unselfish, blameless, and noble life. 

And scarcely were the tumultuous echoes of that convention 
hushed until the music of his eloquence was mingling with the 
music of the waters of the mountain streams; for within less than 
two weeks, in my own County of Jackson, he made the first speech 
delivered by any man in the campaign of 1908. And from there he 
went to all the Counties of the mountains and appealed to his 
friends not to allow their disappointment over his defeat to make 
them less eager for the triumph of Democratic principles. He told 
us that men will jrise and fall like leaves before the wind when it 
whirls through the forest on its way to meet the roar of the climbing 
waves as they rise up from the sea; but he likewise told us that the 
principles of the Democratic Party are as eternal and unchanging 
as the granite in our everlasting hills, and it was for these principles 
that he spoke. 

Throughout that great campaign this magnificent man, whose 
great heart has ever throbbed with a greater and intenser love for 
his party and his State than for his own personal interests, triumph, 
and promotion, this great Apostle of Democracy, whose lips the 
Almighty has touched with an eloquence irresistible in its power 
to stir the souls of North Carolinians as no other living man can 
stir them, went from the remotest section of the mountains to the 
shores of the sea, and always and everywhere he appealed to his 
friends to give their loyal support to the Democratic ticket, of 
which his successful opponent, Hon. W. W. Kitchin, was the head. 
And I am sure, my friends, that no one here or elsewhere, will dis- 
pute the statement that Governor Kitchin had no more loyal sup- 
porters in that campaign than the men who fought and were willing 
to bleed and die for Locke Craig in that great contest. 

From that day to this, he has gone on and on, irradiating his 
pathway with the splendor of his genius until today everywhere 
within the borders of our commonwealth he is hailed as the un- 
crowned chieftain of the North Carolina Democracy. 

I have often stood upon the majestic mountains of my County 
and from their lofty and dizzy heights beheld the indescribable 
glory of the sunrise. And, standing there, I have seen the dark 
storm clouds gather, and watched the lightning flash, and listened 
to the deafening roar of the musketry of the winds and the artillery 
of the skies. And then I have seen the clouds break way and dis- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 27 

appear, leaving the heavens ablaze with the varying hues of God's 
beautiful Rainbow of Promise, which throughout all the ages has 
caused the glad heart of humanity to beat with quick pulsations 
of hope. 

Four years ago when we failed to secure for our great leader 
the nomination for Governor, the dark clouds of gloom, for a time, 
cast their shadows upon the hearts of tens of thousands of as loyal 
Democrats as ever lived. We were saddened but not disheartened; 
we were disappointed but not discouraged; but with love and 
devotion for him like unto that which inspired the "Old Guard of 
France" to follow the great Napoleon to victory or the grave, we 
resolved that we would never cease to stand by him, and fight for 
him, until we had achieved for him the richest rewards and the 
highest honors and the proudest distinctions that abide within the 
gift of the people of his native State. And we come here today, 
my friends, no longer in supplication; we come no longer in tears, 
except the unbidden tears of gratitude; we come rather to glory 
in the fulfillment of a long cherished hope, with the light of triumph 
on our faces and a song of victory in our hearts. We come de- 
voutly thankful to Almighty God that the sun has risen again; that 
the clouds have been dispelled; that the Bow of Promise has re- 
appeared, and that the Star of Hope beckons the land of the moun- 
tains — the Country of Vance, to return once more to its own. We 
come rejoicing in the knowledge that our gallant leader, by his 
unprecedented loyalty, by his sublime patriotism, by his distin- 
guished and long-continued service to his party and his State, as 
well as by the force of his great genius and the splendor of his fame, 
has challenged the admiration and won the esteem and compelled 
the support of every Democrat in the State. Each and all have com- 
missioned you to come here today to carry out their decree that 
Locke Craig shall be the next Governor of North Carolina. 

War has its heroes, and when men fight under the banner of a 
righteous cause, glory's chaplets fitly mark their tombs. Poets may 
compete for fame, and when their lines convey messages of truth 
and right, they may justly claim the laurels that they win. Wealth 
may bring renown when justly won and nobly used, and hard 
earned gold may keep fame's beacon burning brightly when no 
breath of shame shall rise to blow it out. But far greater is the 
honor, and more lasting is the renown, of the man who, without 
reward or the promise of reward, has devoted the best years of his 

28 Random Thoughts and the 

life to the cause of good government; for the fruits of his service 
shall be reaped by all the people, the unlettered and the learned, the 
rich and the poor, alike. On the enduring granite of an unselfish 
devotion and patriotic service has Locke Craig founded the citadel 
of his fame, and I predict that, as Governor of this State, he will 
write his name in letters more enduring than brass or marble upon 
the hearts and in the memory of the people whom he has ever 
delighted to serve. 

Such is the character, such is the history, and such are the at- 
tainments of the man whom the Democracy of the mountains 
presents to the Democracy of the State as its candidate for Governor 
in this good Democratic year of 1912. 

And I rejoice that he is to be Governor now in the noontide of 
our State's fair promise. I rejoice that he is to be Governor of this 
State at a time when a thousand ships are plying her harbors and 
sounds, and when ten thousand trains are daily hastening across her 
borders freighted with the fruits of our peoples' toil and thrift; at 
a time when every rising sun shines upon the foundation of a new 
schoolhouse, and sheds its parting rays upon the last touch of paint 
on one that day completed; at a time when by the recognition and 
promulgation of the great Democratic doctrine of "Equal rights 
to all and special privileges to none", the door of Hope and of equal 
Opportunity stands open wide to all the people of the State. 

He loves every inch of North Carolina's historic soil from where 
she pillows her lovely head upon the bosom of her own majestic 
mountains to where she bathes her shapely feet in the rolling surf 
of the sea. He loves her people; he loves their traditions and he 
loves their history, and, under his wise and masterly leadership, 
these people for whom he has wrought so faithfully and mightily 
in the past, will be led onward and upward into that grander and 
more glorious destiny that awaits them. 

And now, in the name of every Democrat in the State; in the 
name of every man, woman, and child in Western North Carolina; 
in the name of that fair land that gave Zeb Vance to North 
Carolina and the world, I pledge you that when the impartial 
historian of the future shall come to write the history of this great 
commonwealth, high up on the scroll of fame and renown, beside 
the names of the immortal Vance, the peerless Aycock, and the 
revered Jarvis, the "noblest Roman of them all", he will write 
another name that will blaze with equal splendor; the name of the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 29 

peerless and idolized tribune of the mountain people — our own 
beloved Locke Craig! 

Gentlemen of the Convention, the distinguished honor has been 
conferred upon me to present to you as your candidate for Gover- 
nor, that able lawyer, that wise statesman, that matchless orator, 
that Christian gentleman, that knightly, magnificent man, Locke 
Craig of North Carolina. 

Mr. Alley's speech, which was a splendid and superb effort, was 
frequently interrupted with enthusiastic cheering and applause. 

On the speaker's first reference to Mr. Craig, the entire Bun- 
combe delegation and the delegations from the other Western 
Counties, rose and cheered for several minutes. At the conclusion 
of Mr. Alley's speech, it was moved that Honorable Locke Craig 
be nominated by acclamation. The motion was carried with loud 
cheering, preceding a remarkable demonstration." 


In the busy and rushing scenes of life, it is well, now and then, 
for us to forget the pressing cares and duties of the hour, and pause 
long enough to pay a tribute and drop a tear to the memory of 
those who have fallen asleep by the wayside. 

I undertake to say that when on the first day of October, 1930, 
the announcement of Judge James L. Webb's death was flashed 
over the wires, the people of North Carolina, without regard to 
party or creed, with an unbroken and overwhelming voice, testified 
one to another that we had lost our best loved public man. 

His continuous service on the Superior Court Bench for more 
than a quarter of a century had been rendered in every County of 
the State, and he was perhaps the best known man in North Caro- 
lina. I believe that few men knew him more intimately than I did, 
and I am quite certain that no man honored and loved him more. 

It was my proud privilege, once as Solicitor, and three times as an 
Attorney in private practice, to ride with him the Twentieth Ju- 
dicial District, embracing the seven Counties west of Buncombe. 
Commencing in 1911, and from time to time through the passing 
years, it was my good fortune to appear in his Courts in many 
important causes, a number of them involving the awful issues of 

30 Random Thoughts and the 

life and death. I have heard him try causes presenting every phase 
of legal controversy that comes up for solution in North Carolina 
Courts of Justice; I have seen every variety of interest pressed upon 
his judgment; I have heard the most intricate questions of law 
presented for the analysis of his great mind; I have seen a Bar, 
the equal I believe, of any in North Carolina, cross their swords 
in many a hard fought contest in his presence; and then I have 
seen the wise and learned Judge ascend to the seat of judgment, 
poise the scales with an even hand, and then, actuated by a single 
purpose to pursue the right under all circumstances, and blind to 
everything but the inward light of an enlightened conscience, 
measure out equal and exact justice between man and man. 

I have often heard him say that he believed in the maxims of 
common sense, and he always brought them to bear in the discharge 
of his judicial duties. In the Courthouse he had no friends to 
reward, and no enemies to punish. He knew human nature and the 
heights to which it can aspire and the depths to which it can descend. 
His great heart throbbed in sympathy with the lowly and the un- 
fortunate; he could always find an excuse for the erring, and he 
carried with him a mantle of charity for frailty. Who, having heard 
him sentence a youthful criminal, has not been thrilled and up- 
lifted by the expression of compassion and pity on his kindly face? 
At such times I have seen him pause for minutes before pronouncing 
judgment, with a far-away look in his eyes, seeking support and 
guidance, no doubt, from the Source and Fountain of all Wisdom; 
and I have thought that he may have heard a Voice we could not 
hear whispering to him the words spoken from a Cross in far-otf 
Jerusalem, more than nineteen centuries ago: "Father, forgive 
them, for they know not what they do." It must be so, for I have 
heard him then pronounce a judgment in which justice and mercy 
were blended; and then a wayward youth, whose crime may not 
have been so great, after all, stood erect and stepped forth from 
the Court room with confident eye, fully convinced that it is the 
higher object of the law to serve and not to destroy. 

Our own Supreme Court has announced the principle, of uni- 
versal application, that the opinion of the Appellate Courts as 
written in the books is not the law, but merely constitutes evidence 
of what the law is. The decision of the Superior Court Judge, who 
actually tries the case in the Courthouse, constitutes the law of the 
case, and when on appeal to the Supreme Court this decision is 

Musings of a Mountaineer 31 

affirmed, the opinion of the Supreme Court furnishes evidence that 
the Judge of the Superior Court decided the law correctly. I have 
heard it said that in all of his twenty-six years of continuous service 
on the Bench, Judge Webb was never over-ruled in a criminal case, 
while in civil appeals he had charged to his long record fewer 
reversals than any other Judge in the State, as lawyers everywhere 
who have familiarized themselves with the decisions of our Court 
of last resort, will testify. 

Judge Webb is dead, but the influence of a life like his can never 
end. The tomb cannot enclose it. He will continue to live in the 
decisions of our Courts of Justice, and the results of his life will 
live on and on through the coming centuries to uplift, to enrich and 
to bless mankind. He lived with the sincere affection of a host of 
friends clustering about him, and he died honored, revered, and 
mourned by the whole people of a great commonwealth. 

Marble and granite will mark his resting place; but firmer far 
than marble, and more lasting than granite or enduring brass, is the 
solid foundation of his fame; for as long as justice tempered with 
mercy shall be prized as a priceless boon, his memory will abide in 
the hearts of North Carolinians, and those who read the beautiful 
story of his life will feel new inspiration to battle for the cause of 
the eternal right. 

Just and learned Judge, patriotic and upright citizen, devoted 
and consecrated Christian, faithful and constant friend, courteous 
and princely gentleman, Farewell! Sacred be your memory, and 
peaceful and restful your sleep! 


During the past two years I had the good fortune to be able to 
perform some acts of friendship for the late Caleb A. Ridley. 

On numerous occasions, public and private, he acknowledged and 
expressed his appreciation of the little services I had rendered him, 
among which was the procurement of a number of lecture and 
preaching engagements in Haywood and surrounding Counties. 

On one of these occasions he publicly dedicated to me the fol- 
lowing poem entitled "A Friend", which he had written a short 
time before: 

32 Random Thoughts and the 

"A friend is not a fancy, 
An acquaintance for a day, 
One who gains your confidence, 
Then trifles it away. 

"A friend is not forever 
Feigning love for you; 
But is ever seen performing 
Deeds to prove it true. 

"A friend is one who loves you, 
And whether well or ill, 
Just forgets your failings 
And loves you better still. 

"No mater about your meanness, 
Of that you may amend; 
And long as life shall last you 
I'll love you as my friend." 

This little poem beautifully expresses the warm and constant 
friendship that existed between Caleb Ridley and me for more than 
a quarter of a century; and now that the silver cord that bound him 
to life has been loosed; now that the sun of his life has gone down, 
and while yet we linger in the twilight of recollection, and before 
the night of forgetfulness blurs the picture of memory, I desire to 
write, over my own signature, as a memorial of him, my humble 
and heart-felt testimony to his genius, his high ability, and the 
worth of the great work wrought by him. 

No aspiring young man was ever beset with more difficulties, or 
hampered and hindered by greater handicaps and hardships in his 
struggle for education than was Caleb A. Ridley. But with a will 
that never faltered; with a courage that never failed, and with a 
faith that reckoned not with defeat, he struggled on and on, until 
he filled with distinguished ability and marvelous success the pulpits 
of some of the greatest churches in the South and West. 

His eloquent voice has been heard by entranced and delighted 
throngs in almost every State in the Union. Millions have hung 
in breathless attention on his impassioned words, while at the mag- 
netic touch of his eloquence it is said that more than twenty 

Musings of a Mountaineer 33 

thousand souls have been turned back to God. I have heard him 
when his eloquence was like the limpid rivulet sparkling down the 
mountain's side, winding its silver course between margins of moss, 
and gradually swelling into a bolder stream until at last it roared 
into the head-long cataract and spread its rainbow to the skies; 
and then I have seen it flow on like a slow-moving river, reflecting 
from its polished surface forest and cliff and crag. I have heard 
him when his eloquence was like the angry ocean, chafed by the 
raging fury of the tempest, hanging its billows with deafening 
clamor among the lowering clouds, or hurling them, in sublime 
defiance, at the storm that frowned above. I have heard him when 
his eloquence rose like the thunder-bearer of Jove when he mounts 
on strong and untiring wing to sport in fearless majesty over the 
troubled deep; at one instant plunged amid the foaming waves, and 
at the next reascending on high to play undaunted among the light- 
nings of heaven or soar toward the sun. I have seen him with tongue 
dripping with the honey of matchless phrase lash his listening 
audience to the pinions of his mind, leave the picture gallery of 
the earth and leap up into the dizzy spaces where worlds are born 
and unveil the power of Almighty God in the light of the twinkling 
stars. And then I have seen him come fresh from zones of comets 
and astral climes, and with a master's hand play upon every chord 
of the human heart and melt his hearers to tears with the pathos 
of his appeal. And then, still riding upon the easy wings of his 
daring art, I have seen him descend from his sojourn above the 
clouds and convulse his hearers with laughter and with mirth. 

There were those who criticised and condemned him; but whether 
the occasions which evoked criticism and condemnation were the 
result of inherent weakness or the ravages of the dread disease — 
the cankering cancer that caused his death, I do not know. 

I do know that there were those who criticised him unjustly and 
without possessing themselves of the facts — little souls who were 
not worthy to fasten the lachets of his shoes; but it is always so. 

"The flaming, slanderous tongue of strife, 
With its well directed poisonous dart, 
Has embittered many a joyous life 
And broken many a virtuous heart." 

And let me ask, What assurance have those who criticised and 

34 Random Thoughts and the 

condemned him that they, too, would not have fallen, even as he 
fell, and perhaps sooner and with less resistance, if they had been 
tempted as he was tempted? He that hath fallen may have been 
as honest at heart as those who condemned, though they may walk 
proudly today in the sunlight of success and immaculate fame. 

How many of us can be sure that our sisters, our daughters, or 
our wives would have been strong enough to resist the temptation, 
desolation and distress that sacrificed our abandoned sisters of 
shame? It may be that they have not fallen because they have not 
been sorely tempted. Victory does not always proclaim the hero 
and the Saint has no monopoly on virtue. It requires but little effort 
to sail with the wind and tide or to float on tranquil seas. The 
Captain, who loses his ship in the raging tempest may be a better 
and braver sailor than he who rides into the harbor when the winds 
are still and the waves are calm, with engines in perfect order and 
colors flying. It is tempetation, tribulation and travail; it is poverty, 
penury and pain; it is difficulties, distress and disappointments that 
try men's souls and furnish evidence to the world of what material 
they are made. 

The Savior seeth not as man seeth; and He taught us from the 
Cross that the abandoned outcast, the branded criminal, black as 
midnight in the eyes of the world, may still have somewhere in the 
corner of his soul a light that burns; some living spark that may 
yet be kindled into a blazing Star of Hope. Therefore, it is not the 
man who never fails, but the man who can come back who deserves 
the greatest honor; and the man who fails and comes back may 
be a greater hero than he that "taketh a city". And so it behooves 
us to think and speak kindly of our erring brother. God pities 
him; Christ died for him; Heaven's mercy attends him, and the 
Angel Hosts and Chorus will welcome him back with shouts and 
songs of Joy. Then — 

"Pray don't find fault with the man who limps 
Or stumbles along the road, 
Unless you have worn the shoes he wears 
Or struggled beneath his load. 

"There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt, 
Though hidden away from view, 
Or the burden he bears if placed on your back 
Might cause you to stumble, too. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 35 

"Don't sneer at the man who's down today, 
Unless you have felt the blow 
That caused his fall, or felt the shame 
That only the fallen know. 

"You may be strong, but still the blows 
That were his, if dealt to you 
In the self -same way at the self-same time, 
Might cause you to stagger, too. 

"Don't be too harsh to the man who sins 
Or pelt him with word or stone, 
Unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure, 
That you have no sins of your own. 

"For you know, perhaps, if the Tempter's voice 
Should whisper as soft to you 
As it did to him when he went astray, 
'T would cause you to falter, too." 

Surely, in view of the great amount of good Caleb A. Ridley 
wrought in his life-time, charity would have condoned and forgiven 
the weakness or fault or whatever it was that provoked criticism. 
Charity, we are told, is the paramount virtue. All else is as sounding 
brass and a tinkling cymbal. Charity never persecutes nor back- 
bites. It draws the curtain to hide a neighbor's fault; turns a deaf 
ear to the tongue of scandal and heals the wounds made by the 
poisoned arrows of hate. Charity is the Good Samaritan of the 
heart. It is that which thinketh no evil, and is kind; which hopeth 
all things, believeth all things, endureth all things. It is the Angel 
of Mercy which forgives seventy and seven times, and still is rich 
in the treasures of pardon. It visits the sick and those that are in 
prison, soothes the pillow of the dying, mingles its tears with those 
who mourn, buries the dead, and cares for the orphan. It delights 
to do offices of good to those who are cast down, to relieve the 
suffering of the oppressed and distressed and to proclaim the 
Gospel to the poor. It is as wide as the World of Suffering, deep 
as the Heart of Sorrow, extensive as the Wants of Creation, and 
boundless as the Kingdom of Need. Charity presupposes justice and 
justice is an attribute of God, whose charity is inexhaustible. Its 

36 Random Thoughts and the 

supreme example was given us from the Cross when the Savior 
prayed: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." 

Caleb Ridley idolized the people of his native mountains, and he 
was the greatest master of mountain folk-lore that I have known. 
He was the author of hundreds of poems — many of them master- 
pieces, and he wrote a number of books in eloquent and faultless 
phrase that rank with the best literature of the times. Whether in 
the pulpit or on the lecture platform he was pre-eminently the 
greatest orator this section has produced. But now the musical 
voice is still, the beaming eye is closed, and a long, useful life is 
terminated forever. No, not forever, for no one ever dies all for- 
gotten, and no one ever perishes wholly from the face of the earth. 
The influences of a human life are eternal. The tomb cannot enclose 
them. They escape from its portals and continue to pervade the 
daily walks of men, like unseen spirits, guiding and controlling 
human thought and action. And so will the influence of this great 
mountaineer's life live on and on to uplift and bless mankind, and 
to serve as an inspiration to struggling and ambitious youth every- 

Faithful and constant friend, farewell! Child of genius, sleep on! 
Sacred be thy memory, and peaceful and sweet thy rest. 


The following is part of a letter said to have been written by 
Publius Lentulus of Rome in a report to the Senate. It is said by 
the New York Press to be the only reliable pen picture of Christ 
as seen in actual life, and it is an exquisite piece of word painting. 
It is taken from a manuscript now in the possession of Lord Kelly 
and kept in his library. It was copied from an original letter of 
Publius Lentulus at Rome. It being the usual custom of Governors 
to advise the Senate and the people of such material things as 
happened in their respective Provinces, in the days of Tiberias 
Caesar, Publius Lentulus, Procurator of Judea wrote the following 
letter to the Senate: 

"There appeared in these, our days, a Man of great virtue, named 
Jesus Christ, who is yet living amongst us, and of the Gentiles is 
accepted as a Prophet of Truth. He raises the dead and cures all 
manner of diseases. A man of stature somewhat tall and comely, 

Musings of a Mountaineer 37 

such as the beholder may both love and fear. His hair is the color 
of a chestnut, full ripe, plain to his ears, whence downward it is 
more orient and curling and waving about his shoulders. In the 
midst of his head is a seam, a partition in the hair, after the manner 
of the Nazarites. His forehead is plain and very delicate; his face 
without spot or wrinkle, beautiful with a lovely red. His nose and 
mouth so formed that nothing can be reprehended. His beard is 
color like his hair, not very long but forked. His look innocent and 
mature. His eyes fiery, clear, quick and luminous. In reproving the 
greedy, the selfish and the oppressor He is terrible, his eyes piercing 
as with a two-edged sword; but looks with tenderest pity on the 
weak, the erring and the sinful. Courteous and fair spoken. Pleas- 
ant in conversation, mixed with gravity. It cannot be remembered 
that any have seen him laugh, but many have seen him weep. In 
proportion of body most excellent, — a Man for his singular beauty 
surpassing the children of men." 



And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due 
season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have 
therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men. 

Galatians 3: 9, 10. 

The following speech was delivered first at Clayton, Georgia, 
May 24, 1927, and thereafter in substantially the same form in 
numerous schools and colleges in North Carolina. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I am infinitely grateful for this, my first opportunity to speak 
in the great State of Georgia. I could not be other than oppressed 
by a feeling of trepidation when I remember that this was the 
State of Robert Toombs, the intellectual giant of the Old South; 
the home of Alexander Stevens, the idol of his country; and old 
Ben Hill, said to have been the incarnation of mind and magnetism; 
and Howell Cobb, one of the truly great men of the nation; and 
Gordon, the Thunderbolt of War and the Apostle of Peace; and 
Grady, whose genius blazed but for a little while like a brilliant 
star and then disappeared forever; Grady, of whom it has been 
said: "As an editor he had no equal; as an orator he stands as the 
Demosthenes of the South; while as a man, the high marble that 
towers above his grave is but a fit emblem of his purity." 

I am glad that my first opportunity to speak in your State oc- 
curred in this County, which was the birth place of the great Chief 
Justice Bleckley, than whom a more brilliant or learned Judge has 
never adorned the Appellate Bench of any court in this great land. 
I am grateful also that my first speech in Georgia is to be delivered 
here, where my father and mother, now dead for a quarter of a 
century, more than eighty years ago spent the first year of their 
married lives. Here, too, my sister lived, and here most of her 
children were born; and here, too, a brother, who has also passed 
away, spent some years of his life. 

I am glad, too, to make my first speech here, because it was in 


this town that I was admitted to the Georgia Bar, and became at 
least an honorary member of the Fraternity of Georgia Colonels. 

For several days before I received your invitation to speak on 
this delightful occasion I had been spending my idle hours reading 
a very interesting book on the mythology of the ancient Greeks; 
and I had read the story about a traveler who went into a studio 
in Athens, and while he was examining some very old statues repre- 
senting the ancient Greek Gods, he found one whose face was 
covered with hair and he asked the guide what God this statue rep- 
resented. "The God of Opportunity," the guide replied. "Why is 
his face hidden?" the traveler inquired; and the guide answered: 
"Because people seldom recognize him when he comes to them." 
"Why has he wings on his feet?" the traveler desired to know. 
And to this question the guide made answer, "To indicate that he 
will soon pass on and that when once gone he cannot be overtaken." 

The lesson taught by this story from Grecian Mythology sug- 
gested a name for my speech tonight, — "The Age of Opportunity." 

"To take time by the forelock" was the first allegory known to 
Greek Art as if it had been the dawning idea of a new civilization. 
The God of Opportunity was represented by a boy in the flower 
of youth. Handsome in his bearing his hair fluttered at the caprice 
of the winds, leaving his locks tangled and disarranged. Similar 
to Dionysus his forehead shone with grace, and his cheeks glowed 
with youthful splendor and beauty. With wings on his feet to indi- 
cate swiftness he stood upon a sphere, resting upon the tips of his 
toes as if ready for flight. His hair fell in thick curls from his 
brow, easy to lay hold of; but upon the back of his head he had 
no hair, indicating that when he had passed he could never be seized 
or laid hold of any more forever. 

That opportunity is more multiform and varied today than ever 
before all will agree; that we are living in the most wonderful age 
of the world all will admit; that we are living under graver and 
mightier responsibilities than any people who have lived before us 
none will deny. The wealth of the ages is our heritage; the wealth 
for which countless generations have dreamed and struggled and 
fought and suffered and died; the wealth of liberty and law that 
makes everyone secure and safe in his life, property, and the pursuit 
of happiness; the wealth of the library to enlighten us and the 
Christian Religion to guide us; and the wealth of opportunity that 
makes it possible for us to appreciate and utilize the thought, the 

40 Random Thoughts and the 

experience, and the achievements of all who have lived before us. 
The learning and the wisdom, the philosophy and the experience 
of every age and every clime are ours. Every library is a treasure- 
house of knowledge and every book is filled with truths that we 
may learn. We open them and as we turn the leaves the shadows of 
vanished centuries pass before us. Through them we observe hang- 
ing up in the dome of the mighty past, the great lamp of human 
experience in whose reflected light we may see how to avoid the 
pitfalls that have made so difficult the slow progress of our race 
in its upward march. 

Invention's wand has touched the seas. Genius has filled the earth 
with countless gifts to bless mankind. Freed from ancient thought 
and superstition, we are beginning to win unheard of victories in 
the domain of science. One by one we have dispelled the mists 
and doubts of the ancient world. Nothing is too difficult for our 
hands to attempt — no region is too remote, no place too sacred for 
our daring eyes to penetrate. We have robbed the earth of her 
secrets and have sought to solve the mystery of the stars. We have 
secured and chained to our service the elemental forces of nature. 
We have made the winds our messengers and the fire our steeds. 
We have descended into the bowels of the earth and have walked 
in safety on the bottom of the sea. We have lifted our heads above 
the clouds and made the impalpable air our resting place and used 
it for a track over which our airships fly faster than the flight of the 
swiftest bird. We have invaded the skies and harnessed the light- 
ning. The telegraph, wire and wireless, gives wings to the news and 
the events of each day are known in every land by the following 
night. The telephone will carry the human voice thousands of miles 
and the graphophone will preserve it for generations after we are 
dead. We have photographed both sound and motion in the modern 
"movie"; and, greater far than all, by means of the radio instant 
communication has been established between the nations of the 

In such an age and amid such achievements are there still op- 
portunities for you? Ah, yes; the land was not all taken before 
your time, the earth has not ceased to yield its increase. The seats 
are not all taken; the people are not all educated; government is 
not yet perfect, the chances are not all gone. The resources of your 
country are not fully developed, the secrets of nature are not all 
mastered, and there is room and need for all of us in every depart- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 41 

ment of human life, in every field of human endeavor. The new 
is supplanting the old everywhere, and, as the years roll on, new 
conditions and new problems arise for solution. The methods of 
the past are daily giving place to newer and better modes. Those 
who have devoted their lives to the cause of human progress are 
daily falling by the wayside; and, as the struggle goes on, men and 
women with trained minds and strong arms and noble souls are 
needed to take the vacant places in the battle of life. 

We are told that in the Government of God there is no waste of 
energy, that nothing is left to chance. Every leaf and flower and 
tree, every river and vale and mountain, — everything in the visible 
creation bears the impress of a Divine purpose, and this law applies 
no less to men and women than to material things. And to all who 
are blessed with the gift of life there is also given ability and 
capacity for the accomplishment of the work we are destined to do. 
There is not a human being on the earth, except it be those on 
whose heads the hand of affliction rests, who is not blessed with 
some special gift of mind for the achievement of success in some 
special field of endeavor. So the first and most important step to 
take in the road that leads to a successful life is to find the work 
for which nature has designed you, and then concentrate your 
body, your mind, and your soul to attain the foremost place in 
your chosen work. 

It has been well said that if God were to commission two angels, 
one to sweep a street crossing and the other to rule an empire, they 
could not be induced to exchange their callings; and no less true 
is it that he who feels that God has given him a particular work 
to do, can be happy and successful only in the fulfillment of that 
particular work. If he does not fill that place in life, he will fill no 
place to the satisfaction of himself or his friends. 

You will remember that in the fable related in the Book of 
Judges, the fig tree among others, was invited to become King 
over the forest. After the olive tree, on account of its fatness, which 
was pleasing to both God and man, had declined to reign over the 
other trees, the fig tree replied: "Why should I forsake my sweet- 
ness and good fruit and go and rule over the other trees?" As King 
over the stalwart oak and the lofty pine, the fig tree would have 
been a miserable failure, and as much out of place as men and 
women who aspire to a work they cannot do; but, for bearing figs, 
the oak and the pine are vastly inferior to the fig tree. Bearing figs, 

42 Random Thoughts and the 

of all things, is the thing for the fig tree to do; it shines in its own 
proper sphere, but when you take from it its fig-bearing power it 
is fit for nothing else on the face of the earth. 

Nature has endowed us with intellectual gifts as multiform as 
the stars, distributing them among the rich and the poor and the 
high and the low alike; and although, we differ from one another 
as the "stars differ one from another in glory", yet, the utmost 
accomplishment of the life-work of each is essential to the success 
of all, and the success of all is necessary if our race is to reach its 
highest destiny. But life is too short, and the fields of endeavor 
are too vast for any one to fit himself for all. Each one must choose 
a place and fit himself for that, if he would discharge its duties 
well; and each one in the place for which he is best trained may ren- 
der service of the highest class and so merit and receive the greatest 
praise and the richest rewards. Thus constituted, will the mighty 
machine which makes our social life be made to move in perfect 
harmony and no part be esteemed better than the rest. And I believe 
that civilization will never mark its highest tide until all men and 
women have chosen his proper work. No man can be ideally suc- 
cessful until he has found his proper place. Like a locomotive, he 
is strong on the track, but weak and useless everywhere else. Like 
a boat on the river he finds obstructions on every side but one. 

When I was a young boy I read the story of a convention at- 
tended by all the birds of the feathered creation, the object of the 
convention being to see which bird could fly the highest. The 
blackbird was there, and the bluebird and the redbird, and these, 
and all the other birds, had assembled to settle the question as to 
who should be King of the air. At last the signal was given 
and the flocks of birds, representing every species, began to circle 
toward the sun. The eagle, however, made a broader sweep than 
all the rest, and higher and higher and still higher he soared, until 
at last he rested on outstretched wings in midair, far above the 
clouds; and the heavens echoed with his shrill scream of triumph as 
he poised high above them all, when, to his amazement, he heard 
a chirp above him, and upon looking around he beheld an English 
sparrow nestling under the feathers on his back as it said to him: 
"I am higher than you are, Mr. Eagle; I am King of the air". But 
the great eagle reached around and with his beak pulled him off 
and twisted his neck and dropped him to the ground; and it is said 
that from that day to this an English sparrow has never been 

Musings of a Mountaineer 43 

known to roost higher than the limbs of a cherry tree! And so, my 
friends, I advise you, that if the Lord has made you an English 
sparrow, continue to roost in your own little cherry tree, and do not 
try to contest with the eagles; if He has made you a robin continue 
to sing among the apple blossoms; if He has made you a meadow 
lark roost low, and watch out for the hawks; if you are a humming 
bird stay in your own nest when the owls are prowling around. But 
remember that there is more music in a mocking bird's throat than 
in the throats of all the crows that ever blackened or devastated a 
corn field; just as there is more peace in the humblest cabin where 
roses bloom around the door, and happiness and contentment 
reside within, than in all the gilded palaces of the earth where 
happiness and contentment are not. The sweetest song birds do 
not sing above the clouds nor build their nests among the highest 
crags; and I would rather be a cooing dove and live in a meadow 
and mingle my mournful song with the music of a mountain stream 
than to be a great eagle and build my nest on the highest peak of 
the Smokies, and prey upon the helpless and the defenseless and 
the innocent. And so it makes no difference what your calling is. 
Every calling is an honorable calling if inspired by honorable 
purpose and prosecuted by honest performance. Noble manhood 
and noble womanhood will lift any legitimate calling into re- 
spectability and honor. The rock which reckons not with the 
thunderbolt and bows not to the ocean's waves may yet be swept 
from its base by the unconsidered brook. 

The bootblack on the street who can make your shoes reflect 
the sun and shines them better than anyone else can shine them, 
is a leader in the world, and is entitled to as much credit as the 
man who made the shoes. If a barber possesses the greatest skill 
and can mow the stubble from the roughest chin with easy grace; 
if he knows to a hair just what to cut and what to leave to make 
his patron's head look the best; if he knows the lotion that will coax 
the struggling fuzz on the baldest scalp and persuade it to grow 
like roses in June; if he can draw his razor with an ease and skill 
matching the master of the violin who glides caressingly his dancing 
bow across the singing strings; if he can handle well his comb and 
clippers and knows the use of every barber's tool; if he can rub and 
shampoo and knead and wipe with such skill and gentleness that 
every frowsy, unwashed customer who passes through his hands 
may issue forth a perfumed pink of beauty and delight, he is a 

44 Random Thoughts and the 

leader in the world, but the chances are that he would be a failure 
at everything else. 

If a farmer can reach the top in tilling the soil, and can know 
each baneful bug, malicious microbe, and devouring worm; if he 
has learned to recognize each pest that blights and mildews growing 
crops, and knows the means to nip them in the egg; if he knows 
all kinds of horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, and fowl that lay and breed 
with profit; if he knows the moon, and the season when to sow and 
reap, and how to fertilize and trim, and when to sell for greatest 
gain; if by his industry and his intelligent cultivation of the soil, 
he has persuaded one acre of land to produce two bushels of wheat 
or corn where before it produced but one, he has earned the right 
to leadership, and may by the example of his success, have done 
more for his country than the great lawyer who represents it in 
the Courts of some foreign Prince or Potentate. 

The master builder who has the mental grasp to image in his 
mind a mighty temple and body forth his vision in a form where 
each part will fit as neatly as the human eye; if he has such skill 
to manage men that multitudes obey him with delight, and move 
like armies stirred by martial music when led by a great com- 
mander; if he has a ready use for the builder's art and all the 
skill which countless ages have sent down the tide of time, he 
deserves as much honor and is entitled to as much credit as the 
man who thunders forth his eloquence in the highest councils of 
his Nation's Capital. 


"If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill, 
Be a scrub in the valley, but be 
The best little scrub that stands by the rill; 
Be a bush if you can't be a tree. 

If you can't be a bush, then be a blade of grass. 

Some highway the happier to make; 
If you can't be a whale, then just be a bass, 

But the livliest bass in the lake. 

We can't all be Captains; we've got to have a crew, 

There's work for all of us here; 
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do, 

But the work we must do is the near. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 45 

If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail, 

If you can't be the sun be a star; 
It is not by size that you win or you fail, 

Be the best of whatever you are." 

We are drawn by an irresistible impulse to the occupation for 
which we were created, and no matter what difficulties surround it, 
no matter how unpromising its prospects, that occupation is the 
only occupation we can ever pursue with satisfaction, or profit, 
or success. A human life inspired by hope and lured and urged on 
by the ambition to succeed may be likened unto a mountain river. 
If I may, I shall use for example the Tuckaseegee River which 
flows clear across my native County of Jackson, and which has its 
source far back on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in whose 
shadow I was born and reared. Its way is beset by many a bluff and 
gorge and hill until finally it reaches the Tuckaseegee Falls near 
Glenville. There we behold a battle raging between the pliant water 
and the stubborn rocks and there we see the result of ages of such 
conflict. The secret of the river's ultimate success is, first, that it 
never ceases its attack; and second, that it is continuously rein- 
forced. Millions of drops of water are hurled against these cliffs 
each moment and rebound into the abyss, without apparently pro- 
ducing the slightest effect. But these are instantly replaced by 
others, and these again by more and more in an unending series, 
whereas the cliffs, when their disintegrated fragments are swept 
down the stream can never be renewed. Gaunt, mutilated, seamed 
with scars and furrowed with the wrinkles of the ages, these black 
rocks face the maddened flood in silence as if aware of their ultimate 
doom, however long deferred. Meanwhile, the river, confident of 
victory is exultant. "If not in ours, at all events in our successor's 
day", its breakers seem to shout defiantly, as they leap from ledge 
to ledge, and white with fury, fling themselves on the tusk-like crags 
that tear them into shreds but cannot check their course; and the 
river, triumphant, flows serenely on into the Tennessee. The Ten- 
nessee flows into the Ohio, the Ohio empties into the Mississippi, 
and the Mississippi, the Great Father of Waters, extending from 
the regions of perpetual snow to the land of unending summer rolls 
with majestic sweep out into the Gulf of Mexico. It is there caught 
up by the Gulf Stream which moves noiselessly as the moonbeam's 
shadow through the turbulent waves of the ocean carrying upon its 

46 Random Thoughts and the 

throbbing bosom health and warmth and life to half of the world. 
My friends, the river in its journey from its source to the sea is but 
carrying out the purpose for which nature designed it, and its ulti- 
mate triumph in this unending battle teaches us that we must always 
go forward and never backward; that we must always press on to 
greater heights, to grander glories, or see the glories already won 
turn to ashes on our brows. We may sometimes slip; shadows may 
obscure our paths; we may have days of mourning and nights of 
agony, for it is a universal, though mysterious law of life which 
none of us can understand, that man is powerless to produce any- 
thing permanently good or beautiful until he has first paid the 
penalty of suffering or death for the triumph of his dream. There 
never was a worth-while victory ever won that did not cost blood 
or suffering. There never was a truth discovered that was not the 
price of agony. Socrates in a Pagan age believed in the immortality 
of the soul; but for teaching it he was rewarded with a cup of 
poison hemlock. St. Paul preached it in the beginning of the Chris- 
tian Era; but he was paid for it with the dungeon and death. 
Jesus of Nazareth demonstrated it with his life-work; but He was 
despised and hated and rejected of men, and finally died on the 
Cross that fallen man might inherit everlasting happiness and 
eternal life. All of life's beauty was born of suffering and sorrow 
and the very hope of immortality sprang from broken hearts. The 
history of the world is a history of bloody warfare, and the nations 
of the earth have mounted upward through the gloom in a mist of 
tears. Every great life work is an agony and behind every song 
there lurks a sign. The mother of Christ is spoken of as the Woman 
of Pain and the teaching of Christ is sometimes referred to as the 
Religion of Sorrow. The first breath and the last gasp are drawn 
in suffering and all the way from the cradle to the grave stretches 
the great Battle Field of Life. 

And in this connection I wish to call your special attention to 
four great truths uttered by the Savior, and which if fully under- 
stood, appreciated and observed will inevitably bring not only 
spiritual, but material success to all who are willing to make them 
the guiding star of their lives. 

We are told that certain of his disciples who desired to sit on 
either side of Him, one on His right and one on His left when He 
had established His Kingdom, asked Him what their positions 
would be, and Jesus replied: "Whosoever will be great among you 

Musings of a Mountaineer 47 

let him be your minister; and whosoever will be Chief among you 
let him be the servant of all". Now what does this mean? I believe 
it means that success requires service. I believe it means that success 
will be measured not so much by what we get out of the world as 
by what we put into the world. It means that our lives will be 
weighed not so much by what others may do for us as by what we 
shall do for others. It means that life's length is not to be measured 
by its hours or its days, but by that which we have done therein for 
our country and our kind. 

The Ten Commandments, like a collection of diamonds which 
bear testimony of their own intrinsic worth, in themselves appeal 
to us as coming from a Divine or Superhuman Source; and no 
conscientious or reasonable man has yet been able to find a flaw 
in them. Absolutely flawless, negative in form but positive in mean- 
ing, they easily stand at the head of our moral system and likewise 
constitute the foundation of the legal codes of all the civilized 
nations of the earth; and no nation or people can long continue a 
happy existence in open violation of them. But upon these Com- 
mandments have been placed two widely differing interpretations. 
The Mosaic, or human, or negative interpretation is founded on 
absolute justice between man and man. It makes the bold assump- 
tion that every man belongs to himself and has the right to do as 
he pleases with himself so long as he accords the same right to 
others, and does nothing to interfere with their enjoyment of such 
rights. In other words, under this interpretation he must not do unto 
others what he would not have them do unto him. This interpreta- 
tion is but a restatement of the Golden Rule of the Chinese religion 
as taught by Confucius. 

But under the New Dispensation Jesus gives the truly Divine 
interpretation. He tells us that He came not to destroy the law but 
to fulfill it; and by precept and example He illustrated and made 
plain its true meaning and force according to the Divine Will. His 
interpretation is positive in its nature, and is founded on the broad 
principle that no man belongs to himself, or has the right to do 
as he pleases with himself; but that he holds his body, his mind, 
his soul and his property by Divine grant in trust for the benefit 
of all mankind. And so the religion of Christ is positive. He tells 
us that "Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should 
do to you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the 
prophets." According to His religion he who serves man best serves 

48 Random Thoughts and the 

God best, and he who serves God best serves man best. According 
to Him man was not made for himself alone, but all were made 
for each and each for all. 

Again He said: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but 
whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the Gospel's, the 
same shall save it." 

I believe that these words apply to every worthy calling and 
work in life; and I believe that we will make infinitely greater 
progress, in both material and spiritual pursuits when we shall get 
ourselves away from the idea that there is any real distinction or 
essential difference between work, and religious work, as these terms 
are popularly understood. I know that there are those who believe 
that man's daily activities in the prosecution of his business are at 
least selfish, if not wholly evil, and that only the time which he 
actually devotes to church work, strictly so-called, and his time 
actually spent in civic service are classed as "Church Work" or 
"consecrated work" in the real sense. But I believe that the placing 
of so narrow an interpretation on these words of Christ would 
have the effect to obscure if not to destroy the real meaning of his 
life. From the very hour that he asked his mother in the Temple 
where He was conversing with the Doctors and the Elders, "Wist 
ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" until the close 
of his earthly career, He made repeated reference to His "Father's 
Business". And so I believe that He came into the world not 
merely to "preach the gospel to the poor" and "visit the sick and 
those that were in prison"; not merely to open the eyes of the blind, 
unstop the ears of the deaf, and to heal the sick and raise the dead 
and cast out devils. All these things are essential parts of his 
"Father's Business"; but his "Father's Business" is as wide as the 
World of Suffering, deep as the Heart of Sorrow, extensive as 
the Wants of Creation, and boundless as the Kingdom of Need. 
And I believe that when God proclaimed the law of free agency 
among men He instituted on this earth the greatest experiment in 
all the tide of time; an experiment to which all His resources are 
committed. By this great experiment He is planning here to develop 
perfect men and women stronger than circumstance and victorious 
over chance; and no human talent can be wasted or perverted if 
this tremendous experiment is to succeed. Men and women must 
eat food, they must wear clothes, and live in houses, and have 
means of transportation from place to place. They must be educated 

Musings of a Mountaineer 49 

and have medical attention and all the essential things that go to 
constitute the civilization to which we aspire. Therefore, all legiti- 
mate business is part of His "Father's Business", and every worthy 
work is service and every worthy service is prayer in action. And 
whoever works faithfully and honestly in any worthy calling, is, 
in partnership with God, and is his co-worker in this mighty enter- 
prise which He has established here on earth, and which even He 
can never finish without the help of men and women with trained 
minds and willing hands and noble souls. 

Again He said: "Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go 
with him twain." Now what does this mean? It means that we must 
give full measure in all we do. It means that we must conscientiously 
do our level best in every worthy work. It means burning the mid- 
night oil. It means that we must work when we are tired, or until 
we have correctly finished every worthy task our hands find to do. 
The lawyer may be called upon to write a deed, and in a slovenly, 
slipshod way he may write a document that may possibly pass the 
title to your home; but until he has written into that deed every 
apt word of conveyance so that there may be no possible doubt 
that the deed is correct, — until then he has not traveled that second, 
undemanded mile. In the preparation and trial of every cause the 
lawyer has not traveled the second undemanded mile until he has 
sat up while his client slept; until he has exhausted every law book 
and sifted and weighed every fact and made every preparation that 
the cause requires, so that the entire truth may be presented to the 
trial Court. The Doctor who fails to ascertain every symptom and 
apply every remedy and exercise all the skill known to his profes- 
sion, will have charged against him the undemanded mile. And so, 
in every department of life, in every field of human endeavor, in 
every duty which rests upon us, we will stand condemned in the 
Court of Conscience and in the eyes of the world and in the eyes 
of God unless in every instance we have traveled that second, that 
last, that undemanded mile. 

And finally He said: "Work while it is yet day, for the night 
cometh when no man can work." 

Work is everywhere. It was instituted when the Morning Star 
first sang Creation's Hymn, and it has rolled on down the Stream 
of Time, ever increasing, always improving, as the human race has 
multiplied, and as the civilization of Nations has demanded, and 
the countless instruments of toil will never be laid aside until 

50 Random Thoughts and the 

dropped from the nerveless hands of the laborer; not until the 
Angel of Death shall stand with one foot upon the land and the 
other upon the sea and declare that time shall be no more. It is said 
that work and sweat are penalties of the fall of man, but heaven 
has draped these penalties with beauty and love. When the Al- 
mighty created man, it would have been an easy thing for Him to 
have given us our bread ready made. He might have left us in the 
Garden of Eden forever; but he had a grander and a nobler end 
in view when he created man than the mere satisfaction of his 
animal appetites and his animal passions. There was a Divinity 
within man which the luxuries of Eden could never develop, and so 
there was an inestimable blessing in that curse which drove man from 
the Garden and compelled him forever to earn his living in the sweat 
of his brow. Our Creator has so constituted us that we can be happy 
only when our hands and minds are busy; and the struggle for ex- 
istence keeps all living things at constant work. We see it in the 
huge elephant in the pride of his strength as he roams the tropical 
jungle, and all through the animal kingdom down to the smallest 
insect. We see it in the Leviathan which makes the great deep boil 
like a pot and we see it in the animalculae that has brief existence 
in a drop of water. And so, likewise, are all inanimate things 
moved by this same law of force and action. The rainbow which 
attires the heavens with blended beauty; the zephyr which fans 
the fevered cheek; the lightning which purines the atmosphere 
and adds beauty to the landscape, — all obey the same law which 
produces earthquakes and volcanoes and tempests. The whole earth, 
with her sister planets and attendant satellites, all whirl through 
space with the same velocity and the same regularity as when they 
were first dropped like balls of fire from the Creator's hands. The 
sun, with millions of other suns, the stars, which hold their festival 
around the midnight throne, mocking us with their unapproachable 
glories, — all move around a common centre which, for all we know, 
may be the throne of the Almighty himself. Without haste, without 
rest, all move on forever. And so I repeat that work is everywhere. 
God works, for the Bible says: "He rested on the seventh day from 
all His work that He had done," and Jesus worked, for He said, 
"My Father worketh hitherto, and I work;" and so work reaches 
from His great White Throne all the way down through His 
shining courts to the veriest atom of Creation. And so, my friends, 
it all comes to this, that we must garner wisdom before we are 

Musings of a Mountaineer 51 

required to use it, lest when the time for use arrives the time for 
harvest will be over; that whoever would be great must render 
great service; that whoever would reach the top must be willing to 
lose himself at the bottom; and that the richest rewards will come 
to those who travel the second, undemanded mile. 

George Elliot tells us that "there is no short cut, no patent tram- 
road to wisdom. After all these years of invention, the soul's path 
lies through the thorny wilderness which must still be trodden in 
solitude with bleeding feet, with sobs for help, as it was trodden 
by them of old time." And I tell you that there are no elevators in 
the house of success. If you would get above the first floor you 
must climb the stairway step by step. In every pathway of life 
there are valleys to cross as well as mountains to climb. Do not 
stop in the valleys, for there the view is obstructed on every hand. 
Climb to the mountain's top for it is there only that you can 
envision the landscape that lies beyond. 

In this battle of life there are several roads that you may take. 
You may drift with the tide, or float down with the current of the 
stream. You may follow the course of least resistance, or clamber 
around the mountain's side; but all this takes time, and in your 
aimless rambles and voyages there is great danger of losing the 
way. Few men and women soar into the empyrean on eagle's wings, 
and those who do, usually mount on borrowed plumes, and soon 
sink back into oblivion's murky seas. Those who win the fadeless 
laurels must climb and climb and climb, inch by inch across the 
boulders that beset the way, until with infinite toil they clear the 
somber clouds that hang heavy on the mountain's rugged sides, and 
with pallid faces, and tired limbs, and aching hearts, pass into the 
glory of the sun, where they are hailed by their fellows as men and 
women whose lives have been of real service and value to the world. 

Then, my friends, let us improve the opportunities of today, for 
the opportunities of today will not return tomorrow. When I was 
a young man, struggling for an education, I read one simple 
sentence which has influenced my entire life; a sentence written by 
one of our great men who had learned to place the proper estimate 
upon the value of time. He said: "Time once passed is gone forever, 
and all the gold of all the earth will not buy one moment back 

Edward Howard Griggs beautifully expresses the thought in 
these eloquent words: "The River of Time sweeps on with regular,. 

.^, nC 


52 Random Thoughts and the 

remorseless current. There are hours when we would give all we 
possess if we could but check the flow of its waters; there are other 
hours when we long to speed them more rapidly; but desire and 
effort are alike futile. Whether we work or sleep, are earnest or 
idle, rejoice or moan in agony, the River of Time flows on with 
the same resistless flood; and it is only while the water of the River 
of Time flows over the mill wheel of today's life that we can ultilize 
it. Once it is passed, it is in the great unreturning sea of eternity. 
Other opportunities will come, other waters will flow; but that 
which has slipped by unused is lost utterly and will not return 

James Freeman Clark says that, "It may make a difference to 
all eternity whether we do right or wrong today." 

So let us improve the opportunities of today, for this day only 
is ours. We are dead to yesterday and we are not yet born for 
tomorrow. Let us keep in mind the lines of Madeline Bridges: 

"Be glad for today through sun or rain, 
Look out with resolve and hope; 
For today can never come back again, 

In all life's lengthened scope. 
Though years may be many, of toil or play, 
You never again shall see today. 

"Make much of today, it is time's best gift, 

The real, the here, the now; 
Our dreams and our longings idly drift, 

We know not where nor how, 
Or if ever they may fulfillment meet; 

But today is ours, let today be sweet. 

"Then honor today! Give it all your best. 

Let your noblest thought and deed 
Win out to the world, for that soul is blest 

That blesses the world's sad need; 
So each day shall a jewel be, 

In the counted day of life's destiny." 

And let me say to you, my friends, that we could not if we would 
escape the consequences of having lived. No one ever dies all for- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 53 

gotten and no one ever wholly perishes from the face of the earth. 
The influence of a human life, even in this world, is eternal; and 
this is so because each mind and heart reproduces some of its 
qualities and some of its achievements upon the minds and hearts 
of others from generation unto generation. And so the cur- 
rents of influence for good or for evil, when once started flow 
on forever even here on earth. It is a mandate of God's Eternal 
Law that every wrong done by one man to another, whether it 
affect his person, his property, his reputation or his happiness, is 
an offense against justice, and justice is Divine. If you have wronged 
another you may mourn, and grieve, and regret, and then resolutely 
determine against a repetition of such conduct in the future; the 
person you have wronged may forgive you according to human 
language and human conduct; you may suffer the torturing pangs 
of remorse, and may to the uttermost extent of your power endeavor 
to make reparation for the wrong you have done, and that is well; 
but the act is done, and were Nature itself, with all of its force and 
all of its power to conspire in your behalf, it would be utterly 
powerless to undo your act. The consequences to the body, the 
heart, the mind, and the soul, of both our righteous and our wicked 
deeds, though imperceptible to man, are matters of everlasting 
record, written in the Annals of the Past, and there they must 
remain forever. You may repent, and repentance for a wrong com- 
mitted will bear its own fruit, — the fruit of purifying the soul and 
amending the future; but repentance can not blot out the past. 
The commission of the wrong itself is an irrevocable act; but it 
does not incapacitate the soul to do right in the future. Its conse- 
quences can not be expunged, but its course need not be pursued, 
and the wrong need not be repeated. Wrong and evil perpetrated, 
call not for despair, but rather for efforts more energetic and 
determined than before, to the end that wrongs may not be multi- 
plied. Repentance is still as valid as it ever was; but it is valid to 
make the future secure and not to obliterate the past. Why, even 
the criminal is by the laws of the Almighty irrevocably chained to 
the testimony of his crime; for every atom of his mortal frame, 
through whatever changes its particles may migrate, will still retain 
adhering to it through every combination, some movement derived 
from the very muscular effort by which the crime itself was per- 

These truths are illustrated by another of God's Eternal Laws, 

54 Random Thoughts and the 

and that is, that no motion originated by natural causes or human 
agency can ever be destroyed. Even the pulsation of the air, once 
set in motion by the human voice cease not to exist with the sounds 
to which they give rise. The quickly accentuated sound soon becomes 
inaudible to the human ear; but the waves of the air thus raised 
travel throughout the surface of the earth and the ocean, and in less 
than twenty hours every atom of the atmosphere takes up the 
altered movement due to that infinitely small portion of primitive 
motion which has been conveyed to it through countless channels, 
and which must continue its path throughout its future existence. 
And so the air itself is one vast library, on whose pages is forever 
written all that man has ever said or even whispered; and the 
earth and the ocean, as well as the air, are eternal witnesses of the 
words we have spoken and the deeds we have done. There, in their 
immutable but unerring characters, the righteous deeds we have 
performed, the songs we have sung, and the prayers we have prayed, 
as well as the vows unredeemed, the promises unfulfilled, the 
thoughts wickedly uttered, and the words falsely spoken, stand 
forever recorded; thereby forever perpetuating the testimony of 
the life record of all the men and women who have ever lived upon 
the earth, just as the track of every ship that has ever disturbed 
the surface of the ocean remains forever registered in each suc- 
ceeding wave. 

But my friends, however hard we strive; however well we improve 
our time, all of us leave an unfinished work. 

I can not hope to remove mountains or even to cut a trail across 
them. A few steps upward in the hard and flinty rock I cut and 
climb, and then I must stop and die. And yet I know that it is the 
struggle to attain that develops us; for when we have placed our 
hands upon that which looked so attractive to us from a distance, 
and which we have struggled so hard to reach, nature robs it of 
its charms and holds up to our view a still more attractive prize. 
The ideal is ideal only because it is unattainable. The ideal is like 
the rainbow; it is always in sight, but always beyond our reach. The 
unattained and the unattainable still beckon us on toward the 
summit of life's mountains into the regions where the souls of the 
great live and breathe; and Hope is always a promise of the pos- 
sibility of its own fulfillment. 

Saint Paul tells us that "Hope is an anchor of the soul, both 
sure and steadfast." It is the Child of Faith. It is a Rainbow, with 

Musings of a Mountaineer 55 

one end resting on the cradle and the other on the grave with which 
Faith has painted the overhanging sky; it is a golden flash of sun- 
light that gilds the rugged and thorny pathways of life; it is a 
never-ending song that sustains forever the fainting soul of man. 
Walking hand in hand with Faith it lifts us step by step up the 
mysterious ladder to heights from which we may see its Star forever 
blazing above the unrisen Tomorrow. And so, my friends, when I 
reach the point in the upward climb where I must stop; when I, 
exhausted with my worn out tools, must cease to struggle, another, 
abler and stronger than I have been, with sharper tools than I have 
had, and fresh to the task, may, where I cease, begin; and he may 
cut and climb and climb and cut only to be succeeded by another 
still, until at last some future climber shall complete the task and 
step out on the top to look upon the glorious vision of the world 


"Here is a toast that I want to drink 
To a man I'll never know; 
To the man who is going to take my place, 
When it is time for me to go. 

I've wondered what sort of chap he'll be, 
And I've longed to take his hand, 
Just to whisper, "I wish you well", 
In a way he would understand. 

I'd like to give him the cheering word 
That I've longed at times to hear; 
I'd like to give him the warm hand-clasp 
When never a friend was near. 

I've learned my lesson by sheer hard work, 
And I wish that I could pass it on, 
To the man who'll come to take my place, 
Some day, when I am gone. 

Will he see all the sad mistakes I've made? 
Will he count all the battles lost? 
Will he ever guess the tears they caused, 
Or the heart-aches they have cost? 

56 Random Thoughts and the 

Will he see through the failures and fruitless toil, 

To the underlying plan, 

And catch a glimpse of the real intent 

And the heart of the vanquished man? 

I dare to hope he may pause some day 
As he toils as I have wrought, 
And gain some strength for his weary task 
From the battles that I have fought. 

But I've only the task itself to leave, 
With the cares for him to face, 
And never a cheering word may speak 
To the fellow who'll take my place. 

Then here's to your health, old chap; 
I drink as a bridegroom to his bride; 
I leave an unfinished task for you, 
But God knows how I tried. 

I've dreamed my dreams as all men do, 
But they all did not come true; 
And I pray today that all my dreams 
May be realized by you. 

And we'll meet some day in the great Unknown, 
Out in the Realms of Space; 
You'll know my clasp when I take your hand, 
And gaze into your tired face. 

There, all failures will be success, 

In the light of a new-found Dawn; 

So, tonight, I'm drinking your health, old chap, 

Who'll take my place when I am gone." 

And so, if all will do their best on each occasion when duty 
calls, then in the coming years humanity itself may stand upon the 
highest peak and behold the dawn of that glad day when righteous- 
ness, linked with liberty and justice, shall dwell in all the earth. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 57 

I commenced my speech with the story of the statue, still standing 
in Athens, representing the old Greek God o£ Opportunity, and 
I close with the beautiful words of Mary A. Townsend: 

"To each man's life there comes a time Supreme, 

One Day one Night, one Morning or one Noon, 
One freighted Hour, one Moment opportune, 

One Rift through which sublime fulfillments gleam, 
Ohe Space when Fate goes tiding with the Stream 

Or Once, in balance 'Twixt Too Late, Too Soon, 
And ready for the passing Instant's Boon 

To tip in his favor the uncertain beam. 
Ah, happy he, who, knowing how to wait, 

Knows also how to watch and work and stand 
On Life's broad Deck alert, and at the prow 

To seize the passing Moment, big with Fate, 
From Opportunity's extended Hand, 

When the great Clock of Destiny strikes Now!" 




SEPTEMBER 19, 1932. 

The Lord bless thee, O habitation of Justice. 

Jeremiah 31: 23. 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

It is a privilege of which I am profoundly proud, that has been 
conferred upon me by the Committee of the Bar Association, to 
take part in the celebration of a day and an event that will be 
memorable in the history of Haywood County. 

And I am especially proud of the particular part the Committee 
has assigned to me — to accept on the part of the Bar the most 
beautiful, the most convenient, and, as we believe, in all of its 
appointments, the very best Courthouse in all this country. 

As I stand before this splendid audience, composed of citizens 
assembled from every section of Western North Carolina, I wonder 
whether they will consider that I am guilty of any impropriety if 
I shall say that this Courthouse is situated in the best County in 
the entire State. In farming, in stock-raising, in road-building, in 
the number and character of our churches and schools, in the size, 
value, accommodations, and comforts of our Home for the Aged 
and Infirm, and in the size, equipment, efficiency, and completeness 
of our Splendid County Hospital, with its staif of able doctors 
and skillful surgeons, and especially in the strong, sturdy, and 
progressive character of our citizenship, surely Haywood County 
stands in the forefront of North Carolina Counties. 

I congratulate your Honor that you are the first Judge to preside 
over a Court to be held in this Temple of Justice. I congratulate 
the Architect who designed it, and the Artisans who constructed it. 
I congratulate, individually and collectively, the Commissioners 
who ordered it and supervised it, and made of it a Courthouse 
that will accommodate the increasing needs of our growing County 


until our grand-children are old. I congratulate the keeper of this 
building upon the excellent and painstaking care he is devoting 
to it. 

As is ever the case in an undertaking like this, there were those 
who opposed the construction of any building at all. There were 
others who criticised the character of the building during the course 
of its construction, but I confidently believe that when time has 
receded until we can have a perspective of events, the universal 
verdict of our people will be that our Commissioners have builded 
wisely and well, because their work will endure. 

This magnificent structure is our building, the concrete expression 
of our pride in our County; and I think there could be no more 
convincing and eloquent evidence of the unconquerable spirit and 
splendid patriotism of the people of Haywood County than the 
fact that in the midst of our country's greatest depression they 
should be here today dedicating not only to their own use, but to 
the use and enjoyment of generations yet to come, a Courthouse 
that would do honor to any County in any State in the American 

Much as I appreciate the kind and generous spirit that prompted 
my brother Johnson to bestow upon me such fulsome praise for 
the small part I was able to play in the actions and events that made 
this day and this celebration possible, candor compels me to disclaim 
much, if not all, of the credit he is so willing to accord me. If so 
be it happened that I prepared more of the papers and had more 
to say in the action that resulted in a perpetual injunction forever 
enjoining the repair of the old buildings, thereby precipitating the 
absolute necessity for this structure, let me say that, without the sup- 
port and helpful assistance of all the members of the Bar and a host 
of progressive citizens, my small efforts would have been in vain. 

This Courthouse is not the result of the thought of any one man 
or of the efforts of any one man. It is the result of the concensus 
of thought and the combined efforts of all those who believed that 
Haywood County should keep step with modern progress in this 
great State, and, but for such cooperation, this happy day would 
never have dawned. 

In the building of this Courthouse, as in everything worth while 
in politics, in religion, in business, and in civic movements, success 
is achieved only by unity of purpose, combined effort, and concert 
of action. 

60 Random Thoughts and the 

There are some features, however, about this Courthouse which 
I did suggest, and which were accepted by the Architect and the 
Commissioners; as, for instance, the enlargement of this room be- 
yond the size contemplated by the original plans, and the installation 
of the gallery, just as Captain Hannah suggested the additional 
court room on the third floor. And there is another feature which 
was my original thought and suggestion, and which was adopted 
by the unanimous vote and approval of the Commissioners, and 
for which I am not only willing, but proud to accept credit, and 
that idea was to build in, as a part of the Courthouse itself, so that 
they will endure as long as this building shall last, the Decalogue, 
which now forms the basis of the Judicial Codes of every civilized 
nation on earth, and the figure of the blind Goddess of Justice. And 
it might be interesting in this connection to give a brief history of 
the giving of the Law and the surrounding circumstances attending 
that mighty event, as they are recorded in the nineteenth and 
twentieth Chapters of the Book of Exodus. 

Far across the Mediterranean Sea, there is a vast desert belt five 
thousand six hundred miles long with a woof of rocky plains and 
sterile knolls woven into a warp of burning sands and hung around 
the broad shoulders of Africa, binding it to the globe and lapping 
over one third of Asia. This mighty desert stretches from the At- 
lantic coast of Africa to central Hindustan in Asia. Amid its sandy 
and unproductive areas, there are many beautiful oases which lie 
like kisses on its sun-burned cheeks and many verdant valleys with 
which its parched face is dimpled. Near the center of this arid zone, 
lying in the forks of the Red Sea, is the peninsula of Sinai, and 
there Sinai rises in rugged grandeur to the maximum height of 
nine thousand, three hundred feet, towering into irregular, daring, 
and splintered peaks and breaking into a thousand badly balanced 
and salient crags. 

Here, in the very heart of this system of mountains is the plain 
of Rahab where the Tribes of Israel lay encamped during the days 
when the law was given and there, rearing its jagged head among 
the clouds is Mount Horeb, where the Divine Glory sat enthroned 
during the days of the giving of the Law. 

And there Sinai stands today, unchanged and unchangeable, 
precisely as it was when the foot of God trod its solitary peaks 
more than three thousand years ago. Since then, cities have sprung 
up out of the wilderness and then perished, whose ruins today are 

Musings of a Mountaineer 61 

the wonder of the archeologist and the student of antiquity. King- 
doms and Empires have arisen and passed away. Mighty republics 
have lifted their proud heads among the stars and then crumbled 
into dust. The wild goat now browses in their deserted capitols, the 
lizard sleeps upon their broken thrones and the owl hoots from 
their forgotten altars and ruined fanes; but Sinai still stands, sub- 
lime in its solitude, isolated from the world, uninhabited and un- 
inhabitable, and there it will continue to stand until time shall be 
no more. The music of machinery, the hum of industry, and the roar 
of battle have never been heard among its gray old peaks. They 
have stood there silent since God spake from their summits, save 
when the nimble- footed lightning has danced among their rugged 
boulders and heaven's thunders have rumbled among their crags. 
But there was a time when God manifested Himself there, more 
than fourteen hundred years before Christ was born. It was then 
that the Tribes of Israel, numbering some six hundred thousand, 
besides women and children, assembled upon the plains of Rahab 
and in the mouths of the valleys widening into the plains. And 
then we are told that on the third day, in the morning, the clouds 
began to gather around the peaks, growing denser and blacker every 
moment. From the turbid and inky embankment great pieces and 
murky fleeces of cloud rolled out and lapped around the cliffs and 
enveloped the ravines, until at last every peak was hidden, and the 
Mount itself seemed changed into angry, lowering clouds, instinct 
with latent tempests, and lifting themselves around the surrounding 
mountains. And now the lightning began to shimmer; the electric 
flashes trembled upon the face of the clouds; the clouds themselves 
grew blacker between the flashes, while rumbling thunders sprang 
from peak to peak, rolled through the gorges, and left the whole 
desert roaring in echo. 

Such, my friends, we infer from Holy Writ, was the dreadful 
but magnificent prelude which heralded Divinity. And now, the 
great God, Law-giver and Judge, descended in fire from Heaven, 
and as His divine foot touched Sinai's granite crest, the mountain 
reeled and quaked while volume after volume of smoke ascended 
the sky to cover the track of descending Deity. God, the greatest 
of all law-givers, was on the earth, His foot-stool. A trumpet more 
terrible than the trumpet of judgment that will awake the dead 
announced His presence. It was the trumpet that summoned all 
humanity to receive the law and its thunderblasts shook the moun- 

62 Random Thoughts and the 

tains. Moses trembled and the people fled away from the Mount, 
for immutable law was King that day. Louder and still louder 
sounded the trumpet, — its awful tones forming words which shaped 
themselves into a code of law enduring as time, inexorable as death: 

1. Thou shalt have no other God before me. 

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. 

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 

4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. 

5. Honor thy father and thy mother. 

6. Thou shalt not kill. 

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 

8. Thou shalt not steal. 

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness. 
10. Thou shalt not covet. 

And this code of law, thundered down from the heights of Sinai 
more than thirty centuries ago, is the law in North Carolina today. 
And, my friends, I am superstitious enough, or sentimental enough, 
or religious enough, if you please, to believe that these laws of the 
Almighty, carved in these tablets of marble, emblematic of the 
tablets of stone on which they were originally graven, built in as a 
part of this court room, where they will remain constantly before 
the eyes of the people and the jurors and the witnesses, will, as 
the years go by, materially aid in the administration of justice in 
this Courthouse. I believe that when the witness goes upon that 
stand to testify and is conscious that just above him is the command 
from on high. "Thou shalt not bear false witness", he will pause 
long before testifying falsely in a contest between man and man. 

I have hanging on the walls of my office a picture representing 
a Roman Court, when Justinian and his associates, at the command 
of the Roman Emperor, assembled nearly two thousand years ago 
to compile and codify the laws of Rome. When you look at the 
picture, at first glance you see only Justinian and his associates; 
but upon a closer examination, you will see, in the background, just 
above the Judge's stand, the picture of a woman so beautiful as to 
make you feel that she must have been formed in Heaven and then 
handed down a stairway of stars for man to love and cherish for- 
ever. This same picture is on my license to practice law, issued by 
the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Supreme Court of 
North Carolina, and that of other States. It is on every lawyer's 

Musings of a Mountaineer 63 

license — this same picture of this beautiful woman, standing on a 
pedestal, holding in her right hand the sword of authority, while 
in her left hand she holds poised a pair of scales emblematic of 
the Scales of Justice. It is a picture of Astrea, the blind Goddess of 
Justice, worshipped in ancient times by pagans who had no know- 
ledge of the Christian's God, but who believed that this Goddess 
of Justice presided in the souls of the Judges who held in their 
hands the lives and liberties and property rights of those whose 
causes the Courts were called upon to determine and to decide. 

The mythologies of Greece and Rome teach us that this Goddess 
of Justice was blind when she poised her scales; blind to hatred, 
revenge, and vengeance; blind to passion, prejudice, and partisan- 
ship; blind to everything except those things that pointed unerringly 
to the everlasting truth. 

And I believe that this figure, built in as a part of our Court- 
house, illustrating, as it does, the historical truth that, centuries 
before Moses and the Decalogue were ever heard of, men loved and 
worshipped Justice as an attribute of Divinity, — this figure will 
likewise aid in the administration of justice, because it teaches that, 
in all ages and in every clime, the idea of justice is inherent in the 
heart of man. Then let me appeal to the lawyers everywhere who 
expect to practice in this Courthouse, and let me especially appeal 
to the lawyers of Haywood County, that we make this Temple what 
it was designed to be — a place where justice shall be judicially, 
fearlessly, and impartially administered. 

For more than a thousand years before the time of Christ, 
Zoroastrianism was the religion of ancient Persia and it is still the 
religion of several hundred thousand people in India. According 
to its teachings, the world constituted a mighty battle-ground on 
which the contended forces of Good and Evil were engaged in 
perpetual struggle. Midway between these two contending armies 
stood man, and it was incumbent upon him to choose upon which 
side he would battle. There could be no compromise, no evasion, 
and no division of loyalty. And not only was man required to enlist 
on one side or the other, but the beasts and the birds, and the 
winds and the flowers and the trees, — all nature, animate and in- 
animate, the very earth and the sky and the sea and all that in them 
is, — were likewise required to enlist either under the standard of 
Good or the banner of Evil in this perpetual struggle for supremacy; 
a struggle in which the Spirit of Good would ultimately triumph. 

64 Random Thoughts and the 

And so, too, in this Courthouse, as in every temple of justice, we 
see Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, engaged in mortal combat; 
for it is hardly to be imagined that both sides can be right in the 
same lawsuit. 

And it is the never-ending conflict between Right and Wrong 
that makes every Courthouse a temple of tragedy, because here, 
Wrong sometimes triumphs, and the defeat of the Right in any 
cause must inevitably result in tragedy for some one. 

We see in the Courthouse every class of human life, and every 
phase of human character. Here are hearts in whose dark and 
mysterious depths gleam fierce flames of vice and crime; and then, 
in contrast, here are bosoms fragrant with violet vales of innocence, 
where the goddess Virtue sits enthroned. Here we see eyes wet with 
tears of remorse and penitence, listen to piteous sobs of grief and 
regret, and hear words of pardon, soft and sweet. Here we listen 
to savage cries for vengeance or see wrapped in spotless robes of 
purity hearts that lovingly condone and forgive. Here we see 
thorns of hatred mingled with roses of love, and crimson stains on 
garments of guilt and beads of sweat, wrung by anguish or pity, 
glistening like dewdrops upon the brows of honest men. Here lurk 
the demons of revenge with bloody sword in hand, while at the feet 
of the sublime form of Justice, with persuasive voice and uplifted 
hands, the meek-eyed Angel of Mercy kneels. Here we see revolting 
pictures stamped upon scarlet brows of shame; but it is here, too, 
that charity draws the curtains to hide a neighbor's faults, turns 
a deaf ear to the tongue of scandal, and heals the wounds made 
by the poisoned arrows of hate. And here it is that Falsehood 
comes attired in the garb of Truth and oftentimes wears her mask 
so well that the unsuspecting jury believes her guileless; but above 
and beyond the clouds of gloom cast by Falsehood's shadow, and 
shining like the Star of Hope on Heaven's bright canvass we see 
the lustrous image of the Eternal Truth. 

And higher than the steeple of this Temple, greater than the 
Republic itself, and more enduring than the granite of which this 
structure is builded are the Divine Attributes of Justice; and as 
long as the world shall exist as the habitation of man, humanity 
will continue to love the Right as a priceless boon and will gladly 
glorify those who strive to preserve and promote it. 

It gives me infinite pleasure to accept, on behalf of the Haywood 
County Bar, this magnificent building. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 65 





Dr. Hunter, Professor Madison, Fellow Members of the Alumni 
Association, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I am profoundly grateful to Dr. Hunter for inviting me to 
speak here today on this great occasion. 

On the thireenth day of May, 1897, when I was twenty-three 
years old, at the invitation of Professor Madison, I spoke to the 
Alumni Association of the old Cullowhee High School. I spoke 
then in the old green building down under the hill, the occasion 
being, as I now recall it, the ninth annual commencement of the 
school; and today, when I am sixty-three years young, in response 
to the kind invitation of Dr. Hunter, I am privileged to return to 
address the Alumni Association of the Western Carolina Teachers' 
College, and the friends of the college here assembled. 

On the former occasion our Association had twenty-one mem- 
bers; today we boast a membership of one thousand one hundred 

On the occasion of my former speech, among other things, I had 
this to say: "And before I conclude, I feel it my duty to say to you, 
Professor Madison, that there is one person at least among those 
who have graduated from your school, whose life, if it shall ever 
accomplish anything that is really worth while, whatever there 
may be of success; whatever there may be worth while, will be due 
in part — and in great part — to your kind teachings, to your wise 
counsel, to your patient forbearance, and to your devoted, your 
fervent, your never failing friendship. And I am sure, Professor 
Madison, that as an educator, as a Christian character, your in- 
fluence here will endure for ages, and your name will be spoken 
with gratitude and veneration by generations yet unborn. After 
nine years of continuous and unbroken service as Principal of this 
school, now conceded to be the best of its kind in the State, you still 
stand forth with eye undimmed, and natural force unabated, ready 
for all the toils and duties of your exhalted station. May your 
School — Our School — continue to grow until it shall shed lustre 
on North Carolina and the adjoining States." 

66 Random Thoughts and the 

Thirty-nine years have come and gone since I uttered those 
words. Would it be too much for me to claim that as a mere boy, 
I was then speaking the words of prophecy? Let us see. We all agree 
that this school has continued to grow; that it has shed lustre on 
North Carolina and the adjoining States, and I know that all of 
us agree that through all these thirty-nine years Professor Madison 
has remained the same kind teacher, the same wise counsellor, the 
same patient helper, and the same devoted, unfailing friend; and 
I also know that all of you will join with me in a prayer of thanks- 
giving that we have him with us still, with his force still unabated, 
and his eye still undimmed. And I am likewise sure that you will 
agree with me, that if we could know that he might retain his physi- 
cal power and his mental vigor, we could wish that he might live 
to be as old as the man I heard about a few days ago. Up here in 
Avery County, North Carolina, where the altitude is above the 
clouds, and the people live in perpetual sunshine, mellowed with 
a generous mixture of moonshine, they boast that their people live 
to be unusually old. And the story goes that a stranger was passing 
through that County, and as he came around the mountain side 
he found a very old man sitting on the bank of the road and 
weeping as though his heart would break. His hair hung down over 
his shoulders, and his beard reached to his waist, and both were 
white as snow. Out of the kindness of his heart the traveler stopped 
his car, and went back and asked the old man the cause of his grief. 
As soon as he could master his emotion, the old man said: "Well, 
fifteen or twenty minutes ago my daddy came all around beating 
me to death." The stranger was amazed, and finally he inquired: 
"Do you mean to tell me that as old a man as you are has a father 
still living?" And the old man replied: "Well, you would think I 
had a daddy living if you could have seen him wear out that hickory 
withe around my naked back." And then the stranger said: "Well, 
old man, since you have told me this much, I want to ask you what 
your father was whipping you about?" And the old man replied: 
"Well, it was about as near nothing as you ever saw, he beat me up 
like he did because I was sassin' my grandpap!" 

But in my speech here thirty-nine years ago, I also said this: 
"Having planted in the minds of so great a number of the young 
people of this country the principles of education, refinement, and 
progress; and having by your incessant labors built up a school 
here for the general dissemination of knowledge in this section, we 

Musings of a Mountaineer 67 

know that you merit the richest rewards and the highest honors of 
the people of this country while you live and their costliest brass 
and marble should protect your dust after your work here is over*" 

Well, that is all right; and I have no doubt that when Professor 
Madison shall answer the summons that will call him across the 
mystic river that divides this world from the next; when he answers 
the summons that will call him to the rich reward that awaits him, 
the people of this country will rise up as one man and mark his 
resting place with their costliest brass and their most enduring 
marble; and I repeat that will be all right. But for a man like 
Professor Madison, in recognition of service such as he has rendered 
here, that is not enough. I believe in the custom prevailing in this 
country of sending flowers to the funerals of our departed friends. 
I love flowers. They are the emblems of purity and innocence, and 
nothing is more beautiful than a lovely living flower. But the burn- 
ing rays of the sun will cause the flowers to fade, and the descending 
rains will cause them to decay. And I believe that a kind word 
spoken, a needful service rendered, and a little sunshine scattered 
here and there will be worth more to us while we live than a wilder- 
ness of flowers scattered over our graves after we are dead. And 
I believe that all of you will agree with me that Professor Madison 
deserves to be honored with budding, blooming, living flowers while 
he lives. 

Honors paid by the living to the dead are as old and universal 
as the races of mankind. They follow the bereavements of the cabin 
and the palace. Simple ceremonies attend the humble and the lowly, 
and frail memorials mark their resting places; while the long pro- 
cession and the solemn and lofty dirge, the crowded assemblage, and 
the voice of eulogy, all wait upon departed eminence and glory. The 
barbarian chants a requiem over the grave of his fellow mortal, and 
the Christian extols the virtues of his fallen comrade. And I believe 
in erecting monuments over the graves of our departed dead, and 
carving epitaphs that will transmit from year to year the meritorious 
deeds of those who sleep beneath them; but Time, after a while, 
with its destructive forces, will dim the epitaph and crumble the 
marble into lifeless dust. And I believe that every person in this 
great audience will agree with me that Professor Madison deserves 
a monument, to be erected in his lifetime, that will shine more 
brightly through the coming years than our most highly polished 

68 Random Thoughts and the 

brass, and that will be more lasting than our richest and most 
enduring marble. 

No one ever dies all forgotten, and no one ever wholly perishes 
from the face of the earth. The currents of influence, for good or 
for evil, when once started, flow on forever, even here on the earth; 
and this is so because every mind and heart reproduces some of its 
qualities and some of its achievements upon the minds and hearts 
of others, both before and after death. The greatest actors on the 
broad stage of human affairs have always pointed back from the 
loftiest points of their elevation, to the Mother with her prayers; 
to the Father with his toil and devotion; to unselfish kindred; to 
self-sacrificing friends; to teachers who taught them that they were 
born for a higher destiny than that of earth, and bowed with rev- 
erence before the living power associated forever with their names 
and memories. But now and then the current of this stream of 
influence receives a new and startling velocity. Some intellectual 
force, towering above all others of its period and section, occasion- 
ally imparts to communities and States, and even to nations at 
once, an impulse which condenses the ordinary advancement of the 
times into the thrilling compass of a single day. Then entire com- 
munities and States, and not merely individuals, become the sub- 
jects of an irresistible influence. A new era is then noted on the 
page of the historian, and new gateways are opened for the onward 
movement of the race. Such an event occurred here at Cullowhee, 
when in 1889, a young man from Virginia, the descendant of a 
famous family of that great commonwealth; a family which has 
given a President to this nation, and many other noted men to the 
world, came here and founded the old Cullowhee High School. 

It was my privilege to attend that school in the second year of its 
life, and until I had finished the classical course then prescribed. 
During that period the school was tottering on its first foundations, 
and I know something of its troubles, its trials, and its travails. Its 
only means of support was the tuition of the students which most 
of them were unable to pay; and I well remember the times when 
we had but little assurance that the school would continue from 
one month to the next. And I can also bear testimony to the toils, 
the penuary, the poverty, and the hopes deferred, that darkened 
those early years in the life of that young man. But he was utterly 
unafraid. He was afraid of nothing but doing wrong. Disappoint- 
ments failed to sadden his face. His heart was full of hope and his 

Musings of a Mountaineer 69 

soul was was full of dreams, and his eyes gleamed with the eternal 
promise of a better day; and so with the patience of a Job, with the 
self-denial of a Hermit, and the courage of a Martyr, he fought 
his battles against what appeared to be overwhelming odds. But the 
struggles of the years brought mastery, and with mastery came 
faith, and with faith came triumph, — a triumph whose proportions 
have continued to swell until his influence took unto itself the wings 
of the morning and visited the uttermost parts of this and sur- 
rounding States; and it dwells today in a thousand homes in our 
mountain section and has shaped the destiny of thousands of lives. 
And as a result of his self-sacrificing life-work, combined with the 
magnificent leadership of our splendid President, Dr. Hunter, for 
the past thirteen years, the old Cullowhee High School has grown 
into the Western Carolina Teachers' College, a college easily the 
equal of the best of its kind in all the land, and superior to many. 

My friends, all men and women who deserve to live desire to 
survive their own funerals, and to live afterward in the service they 
have rendered to mankind, rather than in the fading characters 
written in the memories of men. Most men desire to leave some 
work behind them that will outlast the brief day and generation in 
which they lived. That our influence shall survive us and be living 
forces when we are in our graves; that our works shall be read, our 
acts spoken of, and our names recollected and mentioned with 
reverence and gratitude, both while we live and after we are dead, 
as evidence that our achievements live and rule and sway, and lead 
some portion of mankind and of the world, — this is the highest 
aspiration of the human soul. To plant trees, that after we are dead 
shall shelter our children, is as natural as to love the shade of those 
our fathers have planted. To sow that others may reap; to work 
and plan, not only for those who live while we live, but for those 
who shall come after us; so to work and live that the results of our 
lives shall reach far into the future, and live beyond our time; to 
rule in the realms of thought over men who are yet unborn; to 
bless, with the glorious gifts of a well spent life, the unnumbered 
thousands who will neither know the name of the giver, nor care in 
what cemetery his unguarded ashes repose, — this is the supreme 
aim of every exalted life. 

The poorest unlettered laboring man, painfully conscious of his 
own limitations; and, in consequence, stirred by laudable ambition 
for his offspring; and the poorest widowed mother, giving her life- 

70 Random Thoughts and the 

blood to those who pay the pittance she is able to earn, — such a 
man and such a woman will toil and save and sacrifice, in order 
to educate their children, that the rising generation may occupy a 
higher station in the world than its predecessors. And so, from the 
ranks of such humble but heroic souls come the world's greatest 
benefactors. Hence in the influences and results that survive him, 
man becomes immortal through successive centuries. 

The Spartan mother, who, giving her son the shield, said to him, 
"Win with it, or die upon it", shared the government of Lacedae- 
mon with the legislation of Lycurgus, for she, too, made a law that 
lived after her; a law which inspired the Spartan soldiers that after- 
wards demolished the walls of Athens, and aided Alexander the 
Great to conquer the Eastern world. 

The widow who gave the fiery arrows to Marian with which to 
burn her own house that it might no longer shelter the enemies of 
her country, the house in which she had lain with her head on her 
husband's bosom, and where her children were born, legislated more 
for her country than many a Legislature that convened after her 
State won its freedom. 

It was of but little importance to the Kings of Egypt and the 
Monarchs of Assyria and Phoenicia that the son of a Jewish woman, 
a foundling, adopted by the daughter of King Sesostris Rameses, 
slew an Egyptian because he had oppressed a Hebrew slave and 
then fled into the desert to remain there for forty years; but Moses, 
who might have been the representative of the King in lower Egypt, 
became the deliverer of the Jews, and led them from Egypt to the 
frontiers of Palestine, and made for them a law which still endures; 
a law that has furnished the foundation for the legal codes of all 
the civilized nations of the earth, and shaped the destinies of the 

Moses and the old Roman lawyers, with Alfred the Great of 
England; the Saxon Thanes and the Norman Barons; the old 
judges and chancellors, and the original founders of our jurispru- 
dence, now lost in the mists and shadows of the mighty past, are 
still legislating for us, and we still obey the laws which they de- 

Napoleon died upon the barren rock of his exile on the lonely 
island of St. Helena, and his bones, borne back to France by the 
son of a King, now rest in the great city on the Seine; but the 
thoughts of Napoleon still govern France. He, and not the people, 

Musings of a Mountaineer 71 

dethroned the Bourbon, and drove the last King of the House of 
Orleans into exile. He, in his tomb, and not the people, voted the 
crown to the Third Napoleon, and he, in his grave, and not the 
generals of France and England, led the United forces against the 
grim despotism of the North. 

Mahomet announced to the Arabian Idolators the new creed: 
"There is but one God, and Mahomet, like Moses and Christ, is 
his prophet." For many years unaided, then with the help of his 
family and a few friends, then with his disciples, and finally with 
an invincible army he taught and preached the Koran. But the 
religion of the wild Arabian enthusiast, conquering first the fiery 
tribes of the Great Desert, spread over Asia and India, the Greek 
Empire, Northern Africa, Persia and Spain, and dashed its fiery 
soldiery against the battlements of Northern Christendom; and 
today the law of Mahomet governs one-fourth of the human race, 
and Turk and Arab, Moor and Persion, Hindu and African, still 
obey the prophet and pray each day with their faces toward Mecca. 

Confucius, now dead over twenty-five hundred years, still enacts 
law for China; and the thoughts and ideas of Peter the Great still 
govern Russia, with all its rapid changes in Government. 

Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Demosthenes, Aristotle, and the other 
great sages of the ancient world are still recognized as the great 
Masters of Philosophy and still exercise dominion over the intellects 
of men; and the great statesmen of the past still preside in the 
councils of the nations. 

Burke still lingers in the House of Commons in England; the 
sonorous voice of Mirabeau still rings in the legislative Chambers of 
France; and the echo of Patrick Henry's eloqeunce may still be 
heard in the old St. John's Church in Richmond. 

Long years ago the Temple built by Solomon crumbled into 
ruin when the Assyrian hosts overran Jerusalem and left the Holy 
City a mass of ruins and Palestine a desert. The Kings of Egypt 
and Assyria, who were contemporaries of Solomon, are now dead 
and forgotten, and their kingdoms are shattered wrecks bleaching 
on the shores of Time. The wolf, the lion, and the jackal now howl 
and roar among the ruins of Thebes and Tyre, and the sculptured 
images of Nineveh and Babylon are dug from the ruins and placed 
in the scattered museums of the world; but the Proverbs and Songs 
of Solomon still live, and will continue to live through the coming 

72 Random Thoughts and the 

centuries as gems of priceless wisdom "which rust cannot corrupt, 
and which thieves cannot break through nor steal." 

It is said that Jesus of Nazareth, during his entire career on 
earth had not where to lay his head. He was a man of sorrows and 
acquainted with grief. He was criticised because He sat down at the 
table to eat with publicans and sinners. He visited the sick and those 
who were in prison, and was denounced as the friend of the outcast. 
He was despised and rejected of men, and was finally tried, con- 
demned, and crucified upon a false charge of seditious teaching 
against the reigning Caesar; but His executioners could not destroy 
His ideas; they were unable to crucify the doctrines He taught; 
and upon these ideas and doctrines, there arose all around the world 
the fanes of a new and undying faith. 

My friends, if God, who is Himself invisible to the eyes of Man- 
kind, by means of definite acts reveals Himself to the understanding 
of men; if He acts through Angels in Heaven, and through men 
on earth, then let me ask, may not the works of Professor Madison 
here in Cullowhee, be likened unto the works of God, his Maker 
and Redeemer? 

I have oftentimes stood upon the highest peaks of the mountains 
of this County and watched the light of the dawn come sweeping 
over the eastern hills, like the mist hurrying before the ocean's gale, 
until every plant and shrub and blossom glistened like diamonds in 
the effulgent rays of the morning sun; and I thought the picture 
was sublime. 

I have listened to the rumbling thunder bellowing through the 
raging storm, and have watched the lurid lightning leap out from 
behind the clouds at midnight and flash clean across the storm-swept 
sky, until cloud and darkness, and the shadow-draped earth, amid 
the rattle and roar of the rain and hail, and the crashing blast of 
the screaming winds, flamed suddenly into vivid splendor; and I 
thought that picture was sublimer still. 

As I came across the Balsam Mountains this morning, I gazed 
upon a picture that fairly took my breath away; a picture painted 
by that unseen Mystic Hand that traces the never fading green 
on pine, and laurel, and cedar; but mingled with the green there 
was the red of the oak, the yellow of the poplar, the brown of the 
hickory, the black of the walnut, the scarlet of the sassafras, the 
gold of the maple, the pink of the sumac, the lavender of the locust, 
the crimson of the birch, and the gray of the slinging moss; while 

Musings of a Mountaineer 73 

the sourwood added its ruby blush, and the blackgum and the 
dogwood, mantled in purple tinged with orange, blended their 
brilliant hues with all the rest, until the whole mountain side 
seemed to be robed in all the resplendent colors of the rainbow; a 
picture of such rare and exquisite beauty that the Divine Painter 
Himself has dared to surpass it only in the molten and empurpled 
splendor of His sunset skies; and I thought that picture was sub- 
limest of all. 

But the most beautiful picture that I ever saw, or that I expect 
ever to see, unless I shall be permitted to look upon heaven's in- 
comparable landscapes, with its gates of pearl and streets of gold, 
its purple hills and fields of light, and its opal towers and bur- 
nished domes, is the light of a noble, unselfish, well-spent life 
devoted to the service of others, and shining like a benediction upon 
those whom it has inspired and uplifted and waiting only for the 
Voice that will bid it enter the "Mansions in the Sky." 

Such a picture we have before us today in the life and service 
of Professor Madison. And the great object of this great day is 
to make the final arrangements to convert the acre of ground on 
which the old Cullowhee High School building once stood, into 
the beauty spot, not only of this Campus, but of the entire country, 
there to remain in fresh and perpetual beauty as a memorial of 

The plan, as I understand it, and as mapped by a great architect, 
is to plant trees, construct fountains and pools, to provide seats, and 
to lay off walk-ways, bordered by hundreds of varieties of shrubs 
and flowers. But the greatest idea of all, — an idea originating in the 
great and generous heart and brain of Dr. Hunter, is to establish 
in connection with this memorial, what shall be known as the 
Madison Memorial Scholarship, so that always through the coming 
years some worthy young man will be obtaining an education here 
in consideration of his service in keeping fresh and beautiful the 
Memorial down under the hill. 

We learn in history that the ancients had a poor way of striking 
a light and keeping a fire, and so it happened oftentimes that there 
was no light to be had. The fires had been neglected everywhere and 
the whole nation found itself in darkness. To rekindle the spark was 
a laborious and difficult task, and so the people of antiquity, in 
order to prevent a recurrence of the calamity, designated certain 
persons whose sole duty in life was to keep the lights always burn- 


ing. In Rome the preservation of the fire was given a sacred char- 
acter. A Temple was built for the service in honor of Vesta, the 
Goddess of the Home and the Fireside, and those set apart to feed 
the fire were consecrated as to a religious duty. The purest young 
women in Rome were chosen as guardians of the sacred fire, and if 
one of these Vestal Virgins, as they were called, lost her purity or 
let the fire in the Temple go out, the law of Rome imposed upon 
her the awful penalty of death. And so, within the Temple, night 
and day, winter and summer, and from year to year, the Vestal 
watched her sacred flame. The Roman Legions might camp upon the 
distant Rhine, or chase Picts and Scots in the Grampian Hills, or 
form lines of battle on the Euphrates; but in the Temple at Rome 
would be found the eternal fire, with the Vestals watching it night 
and day. If the fire went out in the house of any Roman, rich or 
poor, in country or in town, he was not left in perpetual darkness; 
but straightway he took himself to the Temple and lit his torch 
at the sacred fire which the Vestals had kept alive. And in all the 
broad domain of Rome there was never a fear of universal dark- 
ness, because they knew that if one of the Vestals proved recreant 
to her duty, another would be there to take her place, and that 
Vestals might come, and Vestals might go, but the light would 
shine on forever. 

My friends, let us erect here today a Temple; let us inaugurate 
in that Temple the Vestal service; let us make it like unto a "pillar 
of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night"; let us make it like 
unto "a city that is set upon a hill that cannot be hid", so that the 
light of the life of this great and good man shall shine on forever. 


''God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him 
must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth." 

John, Chapter 4: 24. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

History tells us that Demosthenes, the greatest of the Grecian 
orators, before addressing the multitude would always pray to all 
the Gods and Goddesses of Greece to allow nothing but words of 
truth and wisdom to pass his lips. 

On this occasion I feel deeply my unworthiness and my inability 
to even approach the discussion of the sacred subject of religion, 
and I trust I may be pardoned if I crave and request the earnest 
prayer of each person present that I may speak tonight only those 
words that will be helpful to you and to me. 

I am sure you will agree with me that my task is a difficult one 
when I must confine within the space of one short hour the dis- 
cussion of the sublimest theme in the Universe; a subject as old as 
the human race itself; one upon which countless thousands of 
volumes have been written, and which has engaged the best thought 
of the greatest minds the world has ever known. Of course an hour 
will not seem long if you pay attention to what I shall have to say. 
Down in one of the Counties east of here I heard a story about 
Judge Cook who for many years presided over our Superior Courts. 
A lawyer at Durham had argued a dull, dry legal proposition for 
about three hours, and finally something he said caused the Judge 
to awake. The lawyer then said: "If Your Honor please, I do not 
feel at liberty to trespass further on Your Honor's time." Judge 
Cook at once replied: "Don't you worry about having trespassed 
upon my time; for the past two hours my fear has been that you 
proposed to invade the realms of eternity." And the story goes 
that the next day was Sunday and the Judge went to church. When 
the service was over the Judge was presented to the minister who 

76 Random Thoughts and the 

asked him after the introduction what he thought of his sermon, 
and Judge Cook said: "Well, it was wonderful; like the love of 
God, it surpassed all understanding, and like His mercy I thought 
it was going to endure forever." 

Religion is inherent in the heart of mankind, and the religious 
idea is so old that it is lost in the impenetrable shadows of antiquity. 
It matters not how far back we trace a religious faith, we find un- 
mistakable evidence that it is the successor of a faith that lived 
before. It is said that Zoroaster was the founder of the religion of 
ancient Persia, and yet we find abundant proof that Zoroaster was 
a compiler and an apostle rather than the founder of a new re- 
ligion. The Vedas of India consist of a collection of the peculiar 
ideas of religions that were hoary with age when the authentic 
history of India begins. When we read the history of the world 
and its mythology we find that the people of every age and clime, 
whether civilized or savage, worshipped something. 

What does it mean? What is it that we call religious faith? It 
came into the world of man countless centuries ago, and it is here 
today. Wherever man is, there is also a Spirit and a God. Wherever 
there is human life there is also faith. Where did it come from? 
And when? And how? And why? What was it yesterday? What 
is it today? What will it be tomorrow? I repeat, what does it mean? 

It surely means that belief in God; belief in a Higher, a Superior, 
a Supreme Power is the basis on which mankind has built and 
advanced, and the basis on which his hope and destiny rest. 

So far back as we can trace the history of the human race, 
religion in some form has constituted the heart of civilization and 
the soul of progress. It was here before the Tower of Babel reared 
its crest into the clouds. It was here before the Pyramids were built 
and before the Sphinx gazed out upon the desert wastes of Africa. 
It was here before the intrepid Greek warriors led their invincible 
hosts to their ten years' war with Troy. The nations that first 
worshipped at the shrine of a Supernal Power are buried beneath 
the dust of bygone ages. The altars and temples of countless cen- 
turies have crumbled into ruins and over their forgotten sites great 
cities have reared their proud palaces of stone and marble. Mighty 
civilizations have successively played their several parts, run their 
cycles and then given way to newer and higher forms of life; but 
the religious idea remains with us still and grows with man's intel- 
lectual growth and "broadens with the process of the suns." 

Musings of a Mountaineer 77 

We may ponder over the prophecies of the Old Testament and 
the Revelations of the New Testament until we are gray with age; 
we may read the Koran of Mahomet and the Zenda- Vestas of 
Persia; we may study the Vedas of India and the Analects of 
China; we may refresh ourselves with reading the Sagas of the 
Scandinavian climes and the mythologies of Greece and Rome; 
we may acquaint ourselves with all the religious literature of all 
the ages of all the world, and we have one mighty history of the 
never-ending search of mankind for light — a history of the quest 
of man for God. 

In ancient Egypt the people worshipped many Gods, but their 
chief Deities were Isis and Osiris. Osiris was the Divine Lord of 
the Nile lands, the God of Justice and Love and Nurturing Light. 
We are told that he was put to death by Set, the God of Darkness 
and Evil; but his loving wife, Isis, went up and down the land in 
search of the body, and weeping until the banks of the Nile over- 
flowed with her tears. Eventually she found the body and buried it; 
but this God of Darkness and Evil discovered the burial place, and 
after unearthing the body and dismembering it thoroughly buried 
each fragment in a different place. But the faithful Isis after 
traversing the land a second time, found all the pieces and buried 
them together in a securely sealed tomb. And then Osiris came to 
life again, and was miraculously resurrected from death and carried 
up to heaven where he lived on eternally. 

Many of the virtues of Christianity appear to have been the 
ideal of the ancient Egyptians. A thousand voices from the Egyp- 
tian tombs proclaim this fact. The inscription on a king's tomb 
at Thebes, among hundreds of others, describes the creed of one 
of the Pharoahs in these words: "I lived in truth, and fed my soul 
with justice. What I did to men was done in peace, and how I 
loved God, God and my heart well know. I have given bread to 
the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and a shelter 
to the stranger. I honored the Gods with sacrifices and the dead with 
offerings. I never took the child from its mother's bosom, nor the 
poor man from the side of his wife." I believe that every liberal 
minded man will agree with me that many of us could emulate that 
creed with profit to ourselves and to the world. 

The Scandinavians worshipped Odin or Wodin as their chief 
Divinity. Their heaven was Valhalla, into which none could ever 
enter except those who fell bravely in battle, and in which Odin 

78 Random Thoughts and the 

had his abode with its roof of gold, and on whose innumerable 
walls hung as their ornaments swords and spears and shields. From 
its hundreds of wide portals issued daily multitudes of heroes to 
contend in battle, while beautiful maidens, called Valkyrs, swift as 
meteors in their flight through the sky, rode upon the wings of the 
wind invisible, above the scene of the conflict, and designated with 
their spears the warriors who should fall, and whom they would 
then bear off in triumph to Valhalla. 

According to Greek Theogony first came Chaos, a shapeless 
and formless mass of matter. This is the condition in which the 
Greek poets supposed the world to have existed before the Almighty 
Power brought the confused elements into order. 

Chaos was the consort of Darkness and from their union sprang 
Terra, or the Earth and Uranus, or Heaven. So the obscure fiction 
of the Greek poets coincide with the Hebrew account given by 
Moses: "And the earth was without form and void and darkness 
was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon 
the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light and there 
was light'." 

Terra, the Earth, married Uranus, or Heaven. Their offspring 
were Titan and Kronos, or Saturn, the last named being the God 
of Time. Titan, the elder son, gave up his dominion to his brother, 
Kronos, who then became king of Heaven and Earth. Kronos 
married his sister, Cybele, who was also known as Rhea. The reign 
of Kronos was called the Golden Age. The earth yielded spon- 
taneously subsistence for its population and war was unknown. All 
things were in common and Astrea, the Goddess of Justice, con- 
trolled the actions of men. But Kronos had received his kingdom 
from Titan on condition that he would devour all his male children, 
which he had solemnly promised to do. His wife, Rhea, however, 
concealed from him Jupiter, Poseidon and Pluto. 

Titan and his giant half-brothers, the Titans, then made war on 
Kronos. Each of the Titans had fifty heads and a hundred hands. 
They dethroned Kronos and took him captive, but Jupiter took up 
arms, assembling his brothers and the later Gods on Mount Olym- 
pus. The Titans collected their forces on Mount Othys, opposite 
Olympus, and then the war of the Gods commenced. After it had 
lasted for ten years or more Jupiter called the Cyclops to his aid, and 
also some powerful giants whom he had released from captivity 
and who then assisted him in the war. Mount Olympus was now 

Musings of a Mountaineer 79 

shaken to its foundations. The sea rose, the earth groaned and the 
mighty forests trembled. Jupiter flung his mighty thunderbolts. 
The lightning flashed and the woods blazed. The Titans attempted 
in return to storm the skies, throwing massive oaks at the heavens, 
piling up the mountains one upon the other and hurling them at 
Jupiter. But Jupiter flung the giants into the abyss of the earth 
below, and being completely triumphant, he released his brother 
from captivity. 

We come now to the twelve great Deities — the six Gods and six 
Goddesses who formed the Council of the great Gods of Mount 
Olympus, presided over by Jupiter. The six great Gods of the 
Olympian Council were Jupiter, sometimes called Zeus, and in 
Latin, Jove, who was the real monarch of the heavens and the 
father of most of the other Gods. Poseidon, called Neptune in 
Latin, was the God of the sea and controlled the tides and the 
waves. Apollo or Sol, as he was called by the Romans, was the Sun 
God and patron of music, poetry and eloquence. Ares, called Mars 
by the Romans, was the God of War. He is represented as being 
armed with a helmet, a pike and a shield. He sits in a chariot drawn 
by furious horses, called "Flight and Terror"; and his sister, 
Bellona, the Goddess of War, conducts his chariot. Discord, in 
tattered garments, holding a torch in his hand, goes before him, 
while Clamor and Anger follow. Hephaestus, called Vulcan in 
Latin, was the God of fire and of blacksmiths and all those who 
worked in iron or other metals. Hermes, called Mercury in Latin, 
was the herald and interpreter of the Gods and patron of commerce 
and wealth. 

The six great Goddesses of the same Council were first Hera, 
called Juno in Latin and referred to in the New Testament as 
Diana of the Ephesians, the Great Goddess of Nature and the wife 
and sister of Jupiter. On earth she was worshipped as Artemis or 
Juno, but was called Selene or Luna in heaven, or the Goddess of 
the moon. She lived in the woods accompanied by sixty Oceanides, 
daughters of Oceanus, a powerful Sea God, and by twenty sea 
Nymphs; and her attendant and messenger was Iris, the Goddess 
of the Rainbow. Armed with a golden bow and lighted by a torch 
kindled by the lightnings of Jupiter, she led her Nymphs through 
the dark forests and wooded mountains in pursuit of the swift- 
footed deer. The high mountains were said to tremble at the twang 

80 Random Thoughts and the 

of her bow, while the forests resounded with the panting of the 
wounded deer. 

Aphrodite, as she was called in Greece, and Venus in Rome, was 
the Goddess of Love and Female Beauty and of Laughter and 
Pleasure, and was the daughter of Jove, although it was claimed 
by some that she sprang from the foam of the sea, and a zephyr 
wafted her along the waves to the Isle of Cypress where she was 
attired by the Seasons and then led up to the Assembly of the Gods. 
It is said that flowers bloomed at her feet as she walked, and the 
rosy Hours attired her in Divine apparel. Clad in a purple mantle, 
glittering with diamonds, and bound around her waist by the 
Zones, she traversed the heavens in an ivory chariot drawn by 
doves. Eros, or Cupid, as he was called in Latin, the son of Venus, 
was the God of Love. He is represented as a beautiful boy with 
wings. Armed with a bow and arrows it is said that he shot darts 
of love into the bosoms of both Gods and men. Athene, called 
Minerva by the Romans, was the Goddess of wisdom, of modesty 
and chastity, and was a daughter of Jove without a mother, having 
sprung from his head full grown and completely armed. Demeter 
was the Goddess of Corn and of the Harvests, and the mother of 
Persephone who was kidnapped by Pluto, the God of the Infernal 
Regions, of which she later became queen. Hestia, or Vesta, as 
she was called in Rome, was the Goddess of the Home and of the 
Fireside. In Grecian and Roman Mythology every man's house was 
his castle, and there before the altars of Vesta the new-born child 
was named. In Rome the preservation of fire was given a sacred 
character. The Temple of Vesta was used for that service and those 
set apart to feed the fire were consecrated as to a religious duty. 

Astrea was the Goddess of Justice. It is said that she dwelt upon 
the earth in the Golden Age, but the wickedness and impiety of 
men drove her to heaven. With a blind-fold over her eyes so that 
she could not see either one of the suitors before her, she is repre- 
sented as a woman indescribably beautiful, standing on a throne, 
holding in her right hand the sword of authority, while in her left 
hand she holds poised a pair of scales emblematic of the scales of 
justice, in which she weighs the actions of men, the good actions on 
one side and the bad on the other. 

In addition to the Gods and Goddesses composing the Olympian 
Council there were many minor Gods and Goddesses, among which 
may be mentioned Terminus who was the God of Boundaries; 

Musings of a Mountaineer 81 

Comus was the God of Revelry and Festivity; Bacchus was the God 
of Wine and Plutus was the God of Wealth. Aeolus was the God 
of the Winds, and resided in one of the Aeolian Islands. It is said 
that when Ulysses visited Aeolus in his Island, this God gave him 
a bag in which were tied up all the contrary winds, so they would 
not disturb him in his voyage; but his companions opened the bag: 
and all the winds rushed out and destroyed all the ships except the 
one in which Ulysses was sailing; and from these escaping contrary 
winds were formed the whirlwind, the hurricane, the cyclone, the 
simoon, the typhoon and the tornado. Janus was the God of Peace 
and it was believed that he presided over the military enterprises o? 
Rome; and so the great gates of his Temple in the heart of the city 
were always left open so the people could enter and offer sacrifices 
for the success of the Roman arms. But it is said that during the 
entire reign of Augustus the gates of the Temple were closed for 
the first time in eight hundred years, for Rome was at peace with 
all the world. 

Among the minor Goddesses may be mentioned Eos, or Aurora, 
as she was called by the Romans, who was the Goddess of the Dawn 
or the Morning. Flora was the Goddess of Flowers and Gardens; 
Pomonus was the Goddess of the Fruit Trees, and Somnus was the 
Goddess of Sleep. The Sirens were three Sea Nymphs who resided 
near the shores of Sicily where their sweet voices lured to sleep all 
who passed by and then drowned and devoured them. The Graces 
were three sisters who constantly attended Aphrodite to indicate 
that Beauty always accompanied Grace. The Furies, or Eumenides, 
were likewise three in number and were said to have sprung from 
the wound given by Kronos to his father, Uranos. They punished 
the guilty in this world by pursuing them with pangs of remorse, 
and in the infernal regions by perpetual torture. Nemesis was the 
Goddess of Vengeance and was the daughter of Destructive Night. 
She was the avenger of Wrong, punishing all offenders against the 
Eternal Law, but especially those guilty of taunting or boastful 
pride, and in general, those who were guilty of overstepping the 
bounds of moderation. The Three Fates were Clotho, Lackesis 
and Altropas; and they were clothed with tremendous power as 
they were entrusted with the management of the fatal thread of life. 
Clotho drew the thread between her fingers; Lackesis turned the 
wheel and Altropas cut the thread with her scissors. The Muses 
were nine sisters whose dwelling place was on Mount Olympus 

82 Random Thoughts and the 

where there was a fountain from which water gushed forth beneath 
<the feet of the winged horse Pegasus, a deified monster. They were 
•the inspirers of Music and of Song; and it was their mission to sing 
their divinely sweet melodies at the heavenly banquets. They were 
the daughters of Jupiter and Mnemosyne, the last named being 
the Goddess of Memory; and inheriting from her the ability to see 
and remember all things, they were the inspiration of the bards 
and poets. 

And so it will be seen that the Greeks and the Romans had a 
God or a Goddess for everything. Each city had its own God and 
Goddess, and to name them all and tell the sphere and province of 
each would consume more than my allotted time. But I should 
dislike, my friends, to leave the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient 
world without paying my respects to Prometheus and Pandora. The 
task of creating man and the animal kingdom had been assigned 
to Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus. Man, the greatest of 
all creation was created last, and it was then discovered that all 
gifts had been bestowed upon the animals and nothing was left 
for man. So with the aid of Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, 
Prometheus went to heaven, lit his torch at the chariot of the sun 
and sent fire down to man, so that with this weapon he was able to 
subdue the beasts of the forest and bid defiance to the elements. 
Woman had not yet been made and so Jupiter created the first 
woman. She was formed in heaven and every God contributed some- 
thing to make her perfect, and they named her Pandora. Jupiter 
then sent her down to the earth on a stairway of stars, and provided 
her with a box into which every God had placed some blessing for 
the use of man; but Pandora, not knowing the contents of the 
box, and prompted by her curiosity, took off the lid, and all the 
blessings with one exception escaped; only Hope remained; and 
so it mattered not thereafter what evils should befall the earth, Hope 
would dwell with mankind forever to uplift and to bless. 

When I read these myths with respect to the varying beliefs of 
the ancients as to how man was created I am reminded of Sam 
Jones' story of an old colored minister whose custom it was upon 
the conclusion of the service each Sunday morning to announce 
where his text would be found for the next Sunday. The text com- 
menced near the bottom of the right hand page, and during the 
week some mischievous boys went into the church and pasted this 
page to the next succeeding page so that on the following Sunday 

Musings of a Mountaineer 83 

when the old man read his text he commenced at the bottom of 
the page and read: "And when Noah was one hundred and twenty 
years old he took unto himself a wife" — and then turning the pages 
so fastened together he read on — "who was three hundred cubits 
long, twenty cubits wide, forty cubits deep, made of gopher wood 
and covered with pitch on the inside and the outside." The old man 
by then was somewhat confused, and he read again with the 
same result, and then he said: "Well, breddren, I have been reading 
dese Scripture for more dan fifty years and I never read dat passage 
before, but it is here to show for itself and it only goes to illustrate 
dat other passage which says dat man is fearfully and wonderfully 

When I read this myth of Pandora my heart throbs in gratitude 
to her for preventing the escape of Hope. Hope has been my best 
friend and has been constant and true when others failed. St. Paul 
tells us that "Hope is an anchor of the soul both sure and stead- 
fast." It always attends the happy, the carefree and the joyous, 
and it oftentimes mirrors its brightest rays in the darkest waves of 
despair, and lifts us step by step up the mysterious ladder the top 
of which no human eye has ever seen, and although we may not 
always have all that Hope has promised yet we know that its Star 
will forever shine above the unrisen Tomorrow. 

And so you will see that the fertile imagination of the Greeks 
and Romans filled the earth, the air and the sea with a great multi- 
tude of beings endowed with more than mortal power. Thunder 
was considered the voice of Jupiter and the lightning his spear. The 
gentle summer breeze was believed to be the impulse given by 
Zephyr's wings, and the forest's echo was the voice of a Goddess. 
Venus decreed the affection of lovers and the wound inflicted by 
the arrow of Cupid manifested itself in the enamored bosom. Mars 
led the way in battle, while the other Gods participated in the 
conflict, supplying their favorites with charmed arms and bestowing 
upon them supernatural power and skill. On the sea when the 
storm arose and the billows raged, Neptune was supposed to be 
manifesting his fury. Aeolus showed his anger in the raging winds. 
A cloud sailing through the sky was the chariot of Jove. Aurora 
introduced the morning; Iris manifested herself in the Rainbow, 
and "All earth was a kind of heaven and heaven was upon the 

84 Random Thoughts and the 

The Greeks and Romans believed that their Gods were mighty, 
and that it was their part to reward and punish according to the 
good and evil conduct of each person's life. And so they found a 
place for a scheme of morality, and therefore there was a belief 
among the people in the laws of right and wrong, and therefore 
there was room for prayer and sacrifice. He who prayed might 
influence the Gods to hasten their purposes and benefits and to 
restrain their anger; and to this end there was an altar, a place of 
offering, a temple. And men must conform to the moral law such 
as it was. For did they not the wrath of the immortal Gods was 
kindled against them. Did they not, the Eumenides, those swift 
avengers of evil doing were ever at the gate, aye, at the threshold 
of every home, even at the elbow of every mortal life, ready to 
inflict the penalty for all misdeeds. 

And they believed that after death the human soul descended to 
the shores of the dreary and pestilential river Styx, where the grim- 
looking Charon served as ferry-man in rowing departed spirits 
across the dismal stream which formed the boundary of Pluto's 
dominions, and whose gates were guarded by the monstrous three- 
headed dog, Cerberus, whose body was covered with snakes instead 
of hair. 

They say that this river had its source in black caves and dark 
gorges, amid the barren spurs of unexplored mountains situated 
back in the distance and piled darkly against the sky. On this side 
of the river the rocks were black and jagged, and the banks were 
without tree or plant or blossom, and the surrounding landscapes 
were gloomy and desolate, forming a scorched and barren desert. 
At the mouth of this river the dark floods poured down an awful 
cataract into a fiery bottomless sea, overhung with perpetual night. 
It was full of strange and unearthly noises, and from its depths a 
never-ending cloud of smoke ascended. A dark murky vapor over- 
hung the stream, hiding from view the opposite shore. There was 
heard the deafening roar of the turbulent floods as they plunged 
■down the awful steeps below, and there was seen the spray wreath- 
ing away in the dingy smoke of the bottomless pit in whose ascend- 
ing columns fierce lightnings played and hell's unmuffled thunders 
rolled and roared and mingled with the shrieks of the lost. The 
river had but one crossing place, which was a short distance above 
the mouth, and on the opposite shore were the beautiful fields of 
Elysium, the residence of the righteous, a region of indescribable 

Musings of a Mountaineer 85 

loveliness and pleasure. All around were groves of the richest ver- 
dure and streams of silvery clearness. The air was pure, serene 
and temperate. The woods perpetually resounded with the warb- 
ling of song birds, and a far more brilliant light than that of the 
sun was constantly diffused throughout that delightful abode, 
whose inhabitants, undisturbed by care or sorrow spent their time 
in the enjoyment of such pleasures as they had experienced on 
earth, and in admiring the wisdom and power of the Gods. 

My friends, to people living in this marvelous age of progress and 
Christian civilization, the religion of the ancients may seem crude 
and foolish, and yet I maintain that their religion was much better 
than no religion at all. History abundantly proves that when a 
nation begins to doubt its Gods, when it begins to neglect its religion 
it begins to lose its glory; and crude as the religion of the ancients 
may have been, as long as they adored what they believed to be a 
Superior Power it made them stand erect and face toward heaven. 

Under the guidance of Isis and Osiris, Egypt, so old now that 
the very origin and meaning of the word itself is lost; Egypt, the 
land of history and of mystery and the richest spot on earth was the 
cradle of civilization, and was a mighty empire rising from beyond 
the remotest records of time — a land where the music of harp and 
flute was heard two thousand years before they wooed the glittering 
halls of Solomon's Temple, and her mighty achievements are re- 
flected today from the massive monuments slumbering in eternal 
repose among the sands and bulrushes of the valley of the Nile. 

Centuries before Greece and Rome appeared in history, Baby- 
lonia, under the worship of Ishtar, had become the mightiest world 
power of antiquity. Babylon, her capital, with its hanging gardens, 
which constituted one of the Seven Wonders of the world, was the 
oldest city in the world as well as the world's oldest capital, and was 
once the proud seat of Nimrod's ambitious empire. 

Under the practice of a pagan religion, for nearly two thousand 
years, liberty hovered over Greece like the Angel of Creation hov- 
ering over night and chaos, and from the fostering warmth of her 
embrace came forth an immortal world of letters, of art, of science 
and of law. The Macedonia, the Spartan, the Arthenian, all, lifted 
their proud heads among the stars; they sounded all the depths and 
shoals of honor, drank deep draughts from the very fountains of 
freedom, achieved immortality in every department of human 

86 Random Thoughts and the 

thought and human action and barely condescended to pity and 
despise neighboring nations who were less free than themselves. 

And with what grandeur the names of Rome's mighty dead and 
the sublime creations of their genius arise to our view! In what does 
the boasted civilization of the present surpass the achievements of 
a race and an age to whom the revelations of God as we understand 
them today, were unknown? Who has spoken as Cicero Spoke? 
What historian has guided a pen so full of majesty and beauty as 
that which inscribed the annals of Tacitus? Whose muse has 
winged a loftier flight or sung a nobler song than Virgil's? In 
arms, too, what warriors have improved upon the magnificence 
and skill of Caesar and Scipio? As we look back through the dim 
vistas of the past, we can still see the greatness and majesty and 
might of the Eternal City on the Tiber; we can still hear the 
clangor of her shields and the tramp of her conquering legions in 
all the countries of the then known world. We see her jurispru- 
dence become an enlightened science from whose pages a light 
extends to the present hour; we see her culture and the genius of 
her civic institutions follow the Eagles of Caesar from the Alps to 
the British Isles and lay in savage Europe the foundations of still 
grander and mightier states, and we are forced to admit that the 
influence of her invincible power, her enlightened policy, her lit- 
erature, science, art and inventions still well nigh rule our majestic 
world. And so I believe that any religion is better than no religion; 
that any faith is better than no faith at all. I believe that any 
religion that makes men and women better and nobler and happier 
is worthy of every man's reverence. I believe that all rivers of 
righteousness have their source in heaven, and however rough and 
rugged their course; however dense and dark the forests through 
which they flow, each wandering stream will at last find its way to 
the tranquil sea. 

The red man of the North American forest had his faith. He 
had never seen the Manito, but his trust in the Happy Hunting 
Grounds, the sparkling rivers and the fadeless beauty of an Eternal 
world was as unfaltering as the faith of any disciple that ever died 
for the cause of the Cross. 

The Chinese, the countrymen of Confucius, have a faith in their 
system equally firm and unrelenting. It promises no rewards and 
threatens no punishments, but it teaches men to do right because 
it is right to do right; and iivt hundred years before the Great 

Musings of a Mountaineer 87 

Master announced the Golden, unselfish Rule of the Christian 
Religion, "As ye would that men should do to you do ye even so 
to them likewise", Confucius announced the Golden Rule of his 
Religion, "Do not unto others the things that you would not have 
them to do to yourself." 

When the people of Israel broke their prison doors in Egypt and 
lay encamped in the Wilderness, the Omniscient Presence came 
down and gave them a Religion that still survives in every land in 
which a representative of the Hebrew race is found. It does not 
accept Christ as the Messiah, whose coming its prophets had fore- 
told for centuries, but it teaches the worship of the Christian's God, 
and under its influence the feeble fugitives and homeless wanderers, 
without bread and without water in the desert, became an empire 
of wisdom, of wealth and of power. They possessed the Ark of 
the Covenant and took counsel from ministering angels directly 
from the portals of Paradise; and they to whom this Religion was 
given were those with whom the Lord of Hosts made his covenant 
and declared that through good or ill, through weal or woe, he 
would be their God and that they should be his people forever. 

The Eastern Moslem worships with sincere devotion at the shrine 
of Mahomet, and, giving full faith to the testimony of his fathers 
follows the Crescent and rejoices in the prospect of a sensual Para- 
dise at the end of life. Mohammedanism is not as good a religion 
as Christianity, but it is a great improvement over infidelity, because 
it recognizes Allah as the one true God and Christ as among the 
greatest of the Prophets. 

Zoroastrianism was not so sublime as the Religion of the Man of 
Sorrows, but it was much better than Atheism, because it taught 
that the Universe constituted a mighty battle ground between the 
contending forces of Good and Evil, and that all who fought on the 
side of the Spirit of Right would be rewarded somewhere with 
everlasting bliss. 

Buddhism is not comparable to the Christian Faith, but it is to be 
preferred to Agnosticism, because as it was revealed to the gentle 
and loving Guatama under the Banyan Tree in far off India it 
pointed out the eight Noble Paths that lead to Nirvana, a place 
or condition of perfect and perpetual mental peace. 

The Hindu Religion, old as India and shrouded in mysticism, 
embraced today by well over two hundred million souls — more 
than the total number of Protestant Christians in all the world — 

#8 Random Thoughts and the 

as exemplified in the life and works of the great Gandhi, teaches 
the doctrine of non-violence in all the relations of men with one 
another, and enjoins upon them that amity and friendship and 
truth and peace constitute the supreme law of life. 

Mahatma Gandhi, called by his devoted followers the Great Soul 
of India; a lawyer of international renown; an orator of unsur- 
passed eloquence; a writer of transcendant power; a statesman the 
peer of the greatest, and universally recognized by all who know 
the wonderful story of his life as the greatest religious and spiritual 
leader the world ever saw save and except the Man of Galilee him- 
self, is a product of the Hindu Religion. And I care not that he 
attires himself in a single cloak or garment and lives in a tent; 
I care not that he wears wooden shoes and lives on goat's milk; he 
tells us that the greatest quest of mankind is the quest for God; 
that he found him in the Hindu Religion, but that when he found 
him he found the same great God worshipped by you and by me. 
And in his own land wherever men struggle and falter there they 
hail his light, and not only by reason of his lofty wisdom but as 
well by the beautiful example of his saintly life, Moslems and 
Hindus and Brahmins and Buddhists and Hebrews and Parsees 
have ended their age-old hatreds and now walk hand in hand like 
brethren in a common cause; while in every home and hamlet; in 
the lowly huts of the countless thousands of so-called untouchables, 
where hunger and want and misery languish and suffer in the 
lowly tenements, and in the stately mansions of the rich and pow- 
erful, where opulence lolls in elegant ease and the jingle of gold 
mingles with the melody of laughter and song, his name has become 
a symbol of consecration and his life and influence a promise of 
salvation for three hundred and sixty-one million human souls. 

The Aztecs of ancient Mexico and the Incas of the Peruvian 
plains adored the rising sun and worshipped the twinkling stars. 
With the lights they had before them it was the best they could do. 
And after all was it not a Star that heralded to the Wise Men of 
the East "The glad tidings of great joy" — that the Prince of 
Peace was born? Was it not a Star that guided their footsteps to 
the lowly manger in Bethlehem that they might worship the new- 
born Savior of the World and present their gifts of gold and 
frankincense and myrrh? 

Then who will be bold enough to say that in all these great 
Religions of the world it was not God's mighty plan to reveal 

Musings of a Mountaineer 89 

Himself to men and women possessing different degrees of intelli- 
gence^ — to men and women of varying minds? 

It was James Russell Lowell who said: 

"God sends his teachers unto every age, 
To every clime and every race of men, 
With revelations fitted to their growth, 
And shape of mind, nor gives the realms of 
Truth into the selfish rule of one sole race; 
Therefore, each form of worship that hath 
Swayed the life of man, and given it to grasp 
The Master key of Knowledge, Reverence, 
Enfolds some germs of goodness and of right." 

And I believe that it is wrong and sinful to treat with disdain 
and irreverence these great religions which have wrought so 
mightily in the slow progress of the race in its upward march. We 
cannot separate the various revelations of truth, for together they 
form that invisible atmosphere which is called the human spirit. 
The Prophets did not speak to Judea alone; they drank not only 
the waters of the Jordan and the Euphrates, but they spoke also in 
India, and drank also the waters of the Ganges. The Egyptian 
Sorcerers, the Magi of Babylon and the Dualists of Persia all con- 
tributed to the Religious Idea; and the Religious Idea recognizes 
neither Nations nor Sects nor Churches. It passes from Pagoda 
to Pyramid, from Pyramid to Synagogue, from Synagogue to 
Basilica, from Basilica to Cathedral and from Cathedral to Church. 

Christianity has always been willing to stand in the center of 
the world's arena and court the conflict. It has nothing to fear from 
comparison with other Religions, for truth has nothing to fear from 
error or from any conflict with error; and it recognizes truth 
wherever it finds it, whether in or out of Religions. 

Of course we all agree that none of the other Religions embrace 
all the virtues that constitute Christianity, and while Christianity 
takes unto itself all the best in all Religions, and infinitely more, 
so that it presents an absolutely perfect system, without flaw or 
blemish, yet it recognizes that a virtue is none the less a virtue 
because it is practiced in a Religion to which we do not subscribe. 
And so I believe that all we find, in whatever ethnic faith, that 

90 Random Thoughts and the 

evinces any longing for communion between man and his Maker; 
every noble sentiment of poet or philosopher, every instinct which 
leads men to look above and beyond the grave, is welcome as a 
sign that God's love was all the time working in the hearts of men; 
that though feebly, and amid many fearful mistakes, some portion 
of the race in whatever tribe or nation who sought God, was re- 
ceiving a Divinely imparted revelation. It must be so, because it is 
Christianity alone which, as the Religion of humanity, as the Re- 
ligion of no caste, of no chosen people, as the only religion that 
recognizes the Universal Fatherhood of God, the universal Brother- 
hood of Man, and the Sisterhood of States and Nations, and there- 
fore the only religion for which universal dominion is possible, has 
taught us to respect the history of humanity as a whole; to discover 
the traces of a divine wisdom and love in the government of all 
races of mankind, and to recognize, if possible, even in the lowest 
and crudest forms of Religious belief, not the work of demoniacal 
agencies, but something that indicates a Divine guidance. This is 
what St. Peter meant when he said: "For I perceive that God is no 
respecter of persons, but that in every nation he that feareth Him 
and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him." It is what Christ 
meant when he said: "And other sheep I have which are not of this 
fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and 
tbere shall be one fold and one shepherd." Suppose that today one 
hundred men and women were shipwrecked, and cast upon some 
desolate and lonely Island in the midst of the sea, where they would 
realize that it would be only a question of days or hours until they 
must perish unless succor should at once come to them. Then sup- 
pose that when the last hope had fled one of them should sight the 
sails of a ship in the distance, which was coming to their relief. Do 
you believe that those people would engage in a quarrel among 
themselves as to whether that ship was carrying the "Union Jack" 
of England, or the "Tri-color" of France, or the "Stars and 
Stripes" of the United States? Do you not believe rather, that the 
paramount question with them would be, Is that a ship that will 
safely carry me home? 

And Christianity differs from the other religions in that it is 
founded on fact and the others are not. The Hebrew Religion is 
based for the most part on prophecy, and the more ancient Religions 
are based on myths. Mahomet, it is true, asserts that he went direct 
to heaven and received from the lips of God Himself the revelations 

Musings of a Mountaineer 91 

on which Mohammedanism is founded, but no one tells us this 
except Mahomet. Guatama says that the truths of Buddhism were 
revealed to him alone, while he was in seclusion in the forests of 
India; but no witness supports that claim. Christianity, on the 
other hand, is founded on historic facts and dowered in reality and 
is capable of proof by testimony as other facts and are proved. 

When Elijah, the Prophet, stood upon the Mount in the midst 
of the storm, the earthquake and the pillars of fire, he failed to 
see the Lord in any of these forces of nature, but did recognize 
him in the still small Voice — the Voice which all of us have heard at 
some time or other. 

I have three little grand-daughters who are the delight of my 
approaching old age, the eldest being now about eleven years old. 
She has always been a most unselfish child and is the most deeply 
religious soul I have ever known. It has always been an event in her 
life to spend a night in my home and sleep with me. Her last visit 
to spend the night was on one of my trips home only a few weeks 
ago. After going to bed we talked till midnight, in the main about 
religious questions which she wished to have explained. And finally 
she asked me if I ever heard Voices. Upon inquiring just what she 
meant she told me that she was always hearing two Voices, one on 
the right and the other on the left, the one on the right telling her 
to do good things and the one on the left telling her to do bad 
things. But she said that when she listened closely she could always 
tell that the Voice on the right spoke a little louder and more 
distinctly than the one on the left, until finally the Voice on the 
left would fade entirely away. Now do you think you could con- 
vince me that that little child does not hear Voices? I know she 
does, for I, too, have heard them. And what was the Voice she 
heard? It was the Voice of conscience and the Voice of conscience 
is the Voice of God speaking through the heart. 

I stood by the bedside of my sainted mother and I saw her die. 
Just before she breathed her last those of us who were in the room 
heard her say, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, 
good will to men." And then clasping her hands across her breast, 
with the simple faith of a little child, she repeated the child's prayer: 
"Now I lay me down to sleep", and when that was said she died. 
Do you have any doubt that in that sacred moment I heard in my 
soul a Voice saying unto her: "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy 
faith hath made thee whole, go in peace." 

92 Random Thoughts and the 

Have you ever been called upon to bury your little child? I 
have; and as I stood by its grave and knew that I would look upon 
its face on this earth no more forever, it seemed to me that I could 
hear a Voice from heaven saying: "Suffer the little children to come 
unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God." 
Yes, I have heard Voices, and so have you. 

And so my friends, while God himself is never visible to the eyes 
of mankind, manifestations of Himself are always visible. He ap- 
peared to Moses in the burning bush. Again he appeared in a pillar 
of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and in the Temple at 
Jerusalem, in the Holy of Holies, just above the Mercy Seat, He 
appeared in a volume of blazing light; and so He adopts divers 
means to demonstrate to us that He is God. 

In the days agone I have oftentimes stood upon the majestic 
heights of the mountains of my native County of Jackson at day- 
break, and looking toward the East have watched the somber 
drapery of the clouds roll up like a scroll from the rim of the 
horizon as the red torch of the morning enkindled upon the stain- 
less crests of a thousand hills a line of crimson fires and sent forth 
ten thousand shifts of light to herald the coming of the God of 
the Day. 

I have stood there when the shadows of the coming darkness were 
falling around me and I have seen the evening hang her silver 
crescent on the brow of night and equal the awakening glory of the 
dawn with the beauty of the sleepy twilight. 

I have stood there in the winter time at midnight and listened 
sorrowfully to the ice-laden winds as they sighed through the dis- 
mantled forests, and watched the snow fields glistening in the 
moonlight — like foam-flecked billows in a stormy sea while a million 
Stars of Hope flashed back the promise that the soft balmy air and 
the gentle rains of spring-time would come again and renew in our 
midst the splendors of our beautiful mountain world. 

I have stood there in the summer time at noonday, a thousand 
feet above the clouds, and watched the thunderstorm beat merci- 
lessly upon the primeval trees in the rich valley below, as these 
giant monarchs of the forest, whitened by the snows of a hundred 
winters, stretched forth their mighty arms and struggled with the 
wild and relentless fury of the winds; when the lightning flashed 
against the sky in forked flame, and the very earth rocked and 

Musings of a Mountaineer 93 

trembled beneath the angry roar of the musketry of the winds and 
the artillery of the skies. 

And then I have seen the dark storm clouds break away and 
disappear as the evening sun hung every shrub and bush and blos- 
som with jewels more brilliant than the choicest diamonds found 
in South African and Brazillian mines; and then as the great Orb 
of the day passed behind the western hills, the world appeared to 
be encircled with ineffable beauty as God's beautiful Rainbow of 
Promise gleamed softly luminous behind the thunderbolts, and 
caused the hearts of all who saw to beat high with hope. 

There is a picture that baffles and beggars description; a picture 
painted by that unseen mystic hand that traces the never-fading 
green on pine and laurel and cedar; that sprinkles gold on the 
maple trees when the winds of autumn come; that lights in molten 
splendor the Fairy Cities of the empurpled sunset; that causes the 
flowers to blush with radiance under the burning kiss of the dazzling 
sunbeams and attires the forests in all the resplendent colors of the 
rainbow, while the burnished sky, like the spangled robes of an 
enchanter hangs over it all. 

And when I looked upon this picture of indescribable beauty, 
I asked myself the question, "What Intelligence less than the 
Intelligence of a God conceived all this?" And then I said how 
true is that Scripture which declares: "The fool hath said in his 
heart there is no God." 

A few years ago just at night fall I boarded a ship at Norfolk, 
Virginia, bound for Washington City. All day long the rain had 
poured down in torrents, and a gale was blowing up from the 
South. Just as the ship entered the waters of the Chesapeake Bay 
I witnessed the stampede of an equinoctial hurricane fresh from 
the storm fields of Equatorial climes as it swept over the seething, 
tumultuous waves of the Atlantic on its way to the Arctic Seas. 

The Spirit of the Storm God brooded above it. Havoc threat- 
ened on every hand. Death and destruction beckoned, and it seemed 
to me that the sun, the moon and the stars had been blotted out, 
and that the very earth and heaven itself had again been wrapped 
in darkness and in chaos. Strong men wept and women swooned. 
The scream of the hurricane was rendered more terrible by the loud 
rattle of rain and hail. The wild furies of the tempest rushed out 
from their vapory vaults and harnessed their thunder-clad steeds 
to the chariot of the winds. Lurid lightnings flashed out from 

94 Random Thoughts and the 

behind the dark and murky clouds, rumbling thunderbolts howled 
through the bellowing storm to mingle their roar with the crashing 
blast of the charging winds; while wave climbed upon wave, and 
towering surges flung their foam against the sky until at last the 
affrighted earth shook and quivered and quaked at the appalling 
uproar of the warring elements. But after a while the Morning 
Star, herald of the coming day, arose. Soon rosy-fingered Aurora, 
the Superb Goddess of the Dawn, spread her pavilions over the 
Orient and long beams of the dawning light streamed out upon 
the face of the night, and all the smaller stars disappeared. The 
clouds which lingered near grew purple and then reddened with 
the increasing light until they lay like fiery bars along the horizon. 

Iris, Virgin Messenger of the Gods, standing upon the arch of 
the rainbow, threw kisses at the rumbling thunder and conjured 
blushes upon the cheeks of the storm and smiles upon the ugly 
face of the tempest, and then hid behind a distant cloud. 

Selene, gentle Goddess of the Moon, Queen of the Night, her 
robes of hoary light fringed with aureate hue and trailing the 
ocean's brine, escorted by the constellations and leading her royal 
procession along the sky, retired into her palace. 

And at last all the stars disappeared, and the sun, King of the 
Firmament, arrayed in his imperial draperies of dazzling flame, his 
disc resplendent and blazing, his countless rays blending, his long 
golden shafts of light gleaming and shooting clean across the sky 
caused both land and sea to shout their glad welcome of his life- 
giving warmth. At his coming the Evening Star turned pale with 
reverence, lifted her diadem, opened a window in her splendid home 
in far off Hesperia and retired within its walls. His artist's brush 
sheared through every cloud of darkness; a wave of glory surged 
up against the horizon, and flaming lances of livid fire thrown by 
the strong arm of the new-born morning flashed up against the 
sky as he ascended the ecliptic and hastened away to shine full 
orbed over the perfect day. 

And then I asked myself the question, "When the winds were 
calm and still what was it that roused the storm? and when the 
storm was high and furious, why did it not continue to rage?" And 
as I listened the answer came floating back through the centuries 
that the same Voice that had whispered "Peace" to the troubled 
waters of Galilee had stilled the winds and calmed the waves in 
Chesapeake Bay. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 95 

And then I said how true is that other Scripture which says: 
"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth 
His handiwork." 

The Christian world reads the Bible throughout the eye of Faith, 
and with abiding confidence in the credibility of the witnesses who 
wrote that marvelous record, accepts its teachings as true. But the 
Bible, wonderful and incomparable book that it is; and religious 
and emotional, faith, beautiful and wonderful as they are, consti- 
tute but a part of a host of witnesses testifying to the fact of God. 

God is everywhere and in every thing. We hear His voice in 
every peal of thunder that rolls along the sky. We feel his power 
in every tremor and quiver and convulsion of the earthquake. We 
recognize his might in the rolling waves of every storm-tossed ocean. 
We hear his whisper upon the wings of every passing zephyr. He 
that hath eyes to see beholds his smile in the warming rays of every 
burst of sunshine. He that hath ears to hear listens to his song in 
the rippling waters of the mountain streams as they flow on in 
their eternal journey to mingle their music with the murmuring 
anthem of the sea. All nature, animate and inanimate, the very 
earth, the sky and the sea, and the universe of solar systems whose 
suns and moons and stars course through the endless paths of 
space all proclaim through the boundless halls of eternity the 
glory and power and dominion of the All-wise, Omnipotent and 
Eternal God, and the Bible, the Book of Books, reveals Him 
through the birth, the life, the miracles, the death, the resurrection 
and the ascension of the lowly but mighty Nazarene. 

Then let me ask, what does all this mean? Does it mean that "If 
a man dies he shall live again?" We will search in vain the phi- 
losophy of ancient paganism and the teachings of modern infidelity 
and materialism for a satisfactory answer to this all important 
question. Where is the hope, or the promise, or the consolation, 
which the writers and teachers in these schools offer us to take the 
place of the system of hope which they seek to destroy? They 
deny that there is a spiritual life beyond the grave, and reject the 
attributes of God, because these great truths cannot be compre- 
hended by their puny minds, while the human mind itself is only 
one of countless mysteries which we cannot solve or explain but 
which we are bound to admit exists. To the human mind all Nature 
is mystery, and its processes are miracles occurring daily before 

96 Random Thoughts and the 

our eyes, and constitute convincing proof that God rules our 
majestic world. 

The Atheist and the Agnostic close their lives on the level with 
the ox and the horse, and ask the great human family to lie down 
with the beasts of the field, and with them decay into dreamless 
dust, to be cast away upon the dark sea of doubt and despair, above 
them only the starless night, and below them only hopeless death. 

Robert G. Ingersoll, the great Infidel, in one of his eloquent lec- 
tures, describes human life as "a narrow vale between the cold and 
barren peaks of two eternities." Ah, yes; such would undoubtedly 
be the life of the Infidel, because it shuts out God — a life without 
a spiritual horizon; a life without a sunrise of the soul; a life in 
whose contracted and rayless zenith shines no Star of Bethlehem — 
a sunken vale made desolate with the ashes of extinguished hope. 
And the ancient religions likewise failed to furnish a satisfactory 
answer to this all important question; and not only that, but the 
world has now been depopulated of its ancient Gods. They have 
been swallowed up in the voiceless, viewless past, hidden by the 
shadows of the centuries. Most of man's former faiths are now 
regarded fabulous. Their prophets have become as phantoms and 
their Gods as ghosts. The Dryads have been driven from the trees 
and the Nymphs from the streams. The sun is robbed of Apollo 
and the stars of souls. The sea no longer recognizes Neptune and 
his Tritons, and lovely Venus returns not to her native waves. 
Brahma the Golden and the dead Osiris have faded away and left 
their thrones deserted. The sun rises as of old and his smiles kiss 
the cold lips of Memnon, But Memnon opens not his mouth. The 
Egyptian mummies are still awaiting the resurrection promised by 
the priests, while the very traditions of that peculiar people are 
wrapped in a language now lost and dead. The sacred fires of the 
Aztecs and Persians are buried beneath the ashes of the past and 
there is now no one to rekindle the ames. The hoop of Orpheus still 
hangs on the willow and the drained cup of Bacchus is dusty and 
dry. Hushed forever are the thunders of Jupiter; lost forever are 
the songs of the Sirens, and over the ancient religions of the earth 
is thrown the mantle of oblivion. Nothing but a few headless statues 
and abandoned shrines amid the wreck and ruin of fallen cities 
remain to recall the Gods of the ancient world. 

But the Religion of the Man of Galilee, with Faith for its Sword, 

Musings of a Mountaineer 97 

Hope for its Ensign and Charity its Shield, will live on and on 
through the coming centuries to bless and save mankind. 

Arising in an enlightened and skeptical age but among a despised 
and narrow-minded people it earned hatred and persecution at home 
by its liberal genius and its opposition to national prejudices. It 
earned contempt abroad by its connection with the country where it 
was born, but which sought to strangle it at its birth. Emerging 
from Judea it made its way outward through the most polished 
regions of the world — Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece and Rome, and 
in all it attracted notice and provoked hostility. Successive mas- 
sacres, and attempts at extermination prosecuted by the whole 
force of the Roman Empire it bore without resistance and seemed 
to draw fresh vigor from the axe and the stake; but assaults in the 
way of argument from whatever quarter, it was never ashamed or 
unable to meet and repel; and whether attacked or not it was always 
aggressive. In four centuries it had pervaded the civilized world. 
It had mounted the throne of the Caesars; it had sped beyond the 
limits of their sway and made inroads upon barbarian nations 
which the Roman Eagles had never penetrated. It had gathered all 
genius and all learning unto itself and made the literature of the 
world its own. It survived the onslaughts of the barbarian tribes 
and conquered the world once more by converting its conquerors 
to the new Faith. It survived an age of free inquiry and skepticism, 
and has ever commanded the intelligent assent of the greatest 
minds the world has ever known. It has been the forerunner of 
civil liberty, the hand-maiden of freedom, the patron of civilization 
and the nurse of learning. 

Exhibiting in the life of Jesus a picture varied and minute, of 
the perfect human united with the Divine, in which the mind of 
man has not been able to find a defect or detect a blemish; a picture 
copied from no model and rivalled by no copy, it furnishes the 
only solution for earth's most transcendent problem — the immor- 
tality of the human soul. Its mission is one of hope and promise 
and happiness, in all the pathways of life on the shores of time; 
and provides the only universal plan for the redemption of the 
souls of men — for "God so loved the world that He gave his only 
begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish 
but have everlasting life." And to all the children of men of 
whatever faith or creed; to the blind Atheist who is proud of his 


blindness; to the groping Agnostic who boasts of his darkness, 
and even to the eloquent scoffer with his bitter tongue, as well as 
to the faithful followers of the Cross — to one and all, in the words 
of the Great Master, it holds out the invitation: "Come unto me, 
all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." 



For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; 
and the government shall be upon his shoulder; 
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Coun- 
sellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the 
Prince of Peace. 

Isaiah, Chapter 9: 6. 

The following speech, and the speech in the preceding Chapter, 
have been delivered in upwards of fifty churches, courthouses, 
schools and colleges. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

In the trial of civil causes in our Courts of Justice the questions 
involved, called issues, are submitted to the jury for their decision, 
and upon their answer to such issues the judgment of the Court is 

On this occasion I desire to constitute the men and women of 
this audience a jury, and submit to you two issues for your con- 
sideration and decision, if you please, namely, First, Was there a 
man named Jesus, sometimes called the Son of Man, born in 
Bethlehem, in Judea, reared in Nazareth, and in the thirty-third 
year of his life put to death by the order of the Roman Governor 
of Palestine, Pontius Pilate? Second, Was this man Jesus the Divine 
Son of God and the Savior of the World? 

Now, from the lawyer's standpoint, just as I would argue a cause 
before a jury in the Courthouse, I wish to present at least a part 
of the evidence and arguments which support the affirmative of 
these issues. 

At first blush it may seem strange that I should select for dis- 
cussion a great truth which should be acknowledged and taken for 
granted by all; but when we reflect that only a little more than 
one-third of the people of the world are followers of the Cross; 
when we must admit that in all Christian lands there is an ever- 

100 Random Thoughts and the 

increasing number of Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics who seek 
to poison the minds of men with their dangerous and destructive 
doctrines, I maintain that we cannot have too much proof in rela- 
tion to a great, vital, momentous question that so closely affects our 
welfare here and our eternal destiny when life's brief journey is 

And is it not worth while to study the proofs which we con- 
tinually find recurring, that the religion we profess comes not from 
man but from God? That the great Master whom we profess to 
adore was and is indeed "the Way, the Truth and the Life?" That 
"never man spake like this man?" And that the Sacred Writers 
who recorded His teachings were not mad enthusiasts or crafty 
deceivers but men who spoke in sincerity the words of truth and 
soberness which they learned from Him? 

Then, what are the proofs, or at least a part of the proofs, 
which support the affirmative of the issues proposed? 

It is a favorite argument of the skeptics that Jesus was born in 
a benighted land and among an ignorant people. Nothing could 
be farther from the truth. When Jesus came into the world the 
banners of Rome waved over large areas of three Continents — 
Europe, Asia, and Africa — and Rome itself, and the countries 
subject to it, including Palestine, had a total population of more 
than a hundred and twenty million people. That period in history 
known as the "Reign of the Caesars", beginning thirty-five years 
before the birth of Christ, and ending fifty years later, has been 
called the "Classic Age" of the world. Our High School and 
College boys declaim the matchless orations of Demosthenes, 
Cicero and their countrymen as freely as they practice the elo- 
quence of Patrick Henry and William J. Bryan. The greatest 
historians of our own age have never excelled, if, indeed, they have 
ever equalled, the style in which Tacitus and Thucydides wrote 
history two thousand years ago. In painting, in sculpture, and in 
architecture, the Greeks and Romans of ancient times still excel the 
world, while in philosophy we still sit at the feet of Plato, Socrates, 
Cicero, and their associates. When Jesus was on the earth the 
Mediterranean Sea was as full of commerce and the interchanging 
transactions of the world as the Atlantic Ocean is today, and com- 
munication by water between Jerusalem and Athens and Rome was 
as quick and certain as it was between London and New York 
when our Revolutionary War was fought. Our Judicial system has 

Musings of a Mountaineer 101 

borrowed from the Roman Law the great principles of Equity, 
which constitute the heart and soul of the legal system which we 
administer in our Courts today, and the system of jurisprudence 
which we have developed in the United States much more nearly 
resembles the jurisprudence of ancient Rome than it does the law 
of England. With the exception of the use of electricity and steam, 
the discoveries and development of science, and modern invention, 
our civilization has never surpassed, and in many respects has never 
equalled the civilization of Greece, Rome, and Palestine, at the 
time Jesus of Nazareth appeared to challenge the scrutiny, the 
investigation, and the power, of the Hebrew and the Roman world 
alike. So He did not come to open his mission in a benighted land 
and among an ignorant people. Thousands upon thousands of 
educated Greeks and Romans were living in Palestine at the time, 
and the Greek and Roman languages were spoken by the He- 
brews as freely and fluently as they spoke their own tongue. So 
well informed were the Hebrews in the prophecies of their own 
land, that even the "Shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping 
watch over their flocks by night", when they saw the heavens in a 
blaze of glory, and heard the tidings of great joy, on that Christmas 
night in the long ago, at once arose and said: "Let us now go even 
unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, and 
which the Lord hath made known to us." 

So, my friends, let us proceed to the discussion of the issues 
proposed with that serious earnestness which becomes the great- 
ness of the subject — a subject fraught with such momentous con- 
sequences to each of us. Let us pursue it as in the presence of God, 
with appropriate reverence, and with a full sense and appreciation 
of our accountability to Him for the right use of the faculties with 
which He has endowed us. 

For the moment, let us confine the inquiry to the testimony of the 
four Evangelists, bringing their narratives to the tests of truth to 
which other evidence is subjected in our Courts of Justice. 

Our religion is founded on fact — the fact of the birth, ministry, 
miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. These 
facts are related by the four Gospel Writers as having actually 
occurred, within the personal knowledge at least of Matthew and 
John; and Papias, who wrote after the first two and before the 
last two Gospels were written, tells us that Mark wrote his Gospel 
at the dictation of Peter, who was an eye-witness to the works and 

102 Random Thoughts and the 

miracles of Christ; and Peter himself in the 16th verse of the first 
Chapter of his second Epistle tells us that, in making known the 
power and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, they were not 
following cunningly devised fables but were eye-witnesses of his 
majesty; while Luke, although he does not claim to have been an 
eye-witness, yet he lived in the same age and in the same country, 
and he says that he had "perfect understanding of all things from 
the very first" and that he verified by the most infallible proofs the 
events about which he wrote. 

Our religion, then, rests in large measure on the credit due to 
these witnesses. Are they worthy of implicit belief in the matters 
which they relate? This is the question in human tribunals in regard 
to persons testifying before them; and I purpose now to test the 
veracity of these witnesses by the same rules and means which are 
there employed. Our Courts are governed by the fundamental rule 
that in trials of fact before a jury, by the testimony of witnesses, 
the proper inquiry is not whether there is a possibility that the 
testimony may be false, but whether there is sufficient probability 
that it is true. And in proceeding to weigh issues of fact, the prin- 
cipal question to be determined is: When may such issues be said 
to be proved? The answer to this question is furnished by another 
rule of law, namely, that an issue of fact is proved when its truth 
is established by competent and satisfactory evidence. 

By competent evidence is meant such as the nature of the prop- 
osition to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence is meant 
that amount of proof which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced 
and unbiased mind beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Now, the circumstances which will amount to this degree of 
proof can never be previously defined; the only legal test to which 
they can be subjected being their sufficiency to satisfy the mind 
and conscience of a man of common prudence and discretion, and 
so to convince him that he would be willing to act upon that con- 
viction in matters of the gravest concern and importance to himself. 

Proceeding then to inquire whether the facts related by the four 
Gospel Writers are proved by competent and satisfactory evidence, 
we are led, next, to consider on which side lies the burden of estab- 
lishing the credibility of the witnesses. And on this point the law 
furnishes a rule which is of constant application in all trials by 
jury and which is, indeed, the dictate of that charity that thinketh 
no evil — that in the absence of circumstances which generate sus- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 103 

picion, every witness is presumed credible until the contrary is 
shown; and the burden of impeaching his credibility rests upon 
him who attacks it. 

Then all I ask for these witnesses is that their testimony may be 
regarded as we regard the testimony of average men in the ordinary 
affairs of life. This they are justly entitled to; and this no fair- 
minded adversary will refuse. I might take even the higher ground 
and confidently claim that they were inspired witnesses, but my 
purpose is merely to try their veracity by the ordinary tests of 
truth admitted in human tribunals, and to consider what they say 
as original, substantive evidence; that is, evidence offered for the 
purpose of proving a fact in issue, as opposed to evidence given 
for the purpose of discrediting a witness, or showing that he is 
unworthy of belief, or of corroborating his testimony. 

Then what is the wondrous story they tell, and in the telling of 
which they voluntarily sacrificed all the material interests of life 
and with apparent gladness submitted to the most cruel persecu- 
tions and went to a martyr's death as to a banquet? 

They tell us of a Man who was perfect; a sinless Man, alto- 
gether without fault. They tell us of a Man who was supremely 
wise and supremely good; who proclaimed the universal Father- 
hood of God, the universal Brotherhood of man, and the Sister- 
hood of States and Nations; and who was the first to teach that 
Love and Charity constitute the highest law of life. 

They tell us of a Man who was intensely human and yet had all 
the attributes of a God; a Man clothed with Almighty Power, 
possessing all the qualities of Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts, and at 
the same time a God, walking the earth in human form, holding 
daily communion with men, dwelling in the habitations of men, 
sitting down to the table to eat with men, and sleeping beneath 
the roofs of men — mystery of mysteries, miracle of miracles! They 
tell us that He exercised dominion over life and death and that at 
his command the red blood of life resumed its circling courses 
through frigid veins in dead and decaying human bodies and the 
grave gave up its dead. They tell us that He dominated the intellect 
of man and drove from his brain the demons of insanity and crime, 
and reason resumed her sway. Sightless eyes, from which the 
beauties of the world had been forever hid, yielded to his mag- 
netic touch, and blind men were made to see. His tones penetrated 
the ears of the deaf, and disordered ear drums, again attuned to 

104 , Random Thoughts and the 

the melody of the spheres, commenced to function, and listened 
enraptured to the sweet, majestic music of his voice. He spoke to 
the dumb, and tongues long silent were loosed and the dormant 
organs of articulation caught his voice and shouted praise and 
thanksgiving to Almighty God. He bade the wasted and withered 
muscles and shattered nerves of impotent limbs to regain their 
strength, and the paralytic arose and walked. He struck the loathe- 
some and unsightly scales from the face and form of the leper, 
and the most dreaded of all diseases fled and made way for the 
return of the vigorous and bounding health of youth. He laid his 
curse on the barren fig tree, and it withered and died like a beau- 
tiful flower at the first touch of "the North wind's breath". He 
spoke to the invisible forces of inanimate nature, and the raging 
winds of the tempest were stilled and the turbulent waves of the 
sea grew calm. 

And then they tell us of a life which no mere man could ever 
live, and a death which none but a God could die. And finally 
they tell us that after he was crucified and dead and buried, He 
kindled the fires of resurrection inside the dark and dismal walls 
of the tomb; that He who had been killed, who had slept for three 
days as dead men sleep, covered with the perfumes of Nicodemus 
and the winding sheet of Joseph, rolled away the stone from the 
door of the tomb, escaped through its portals, appeared alive on 
repeated occasions in the presence of hosts of witnesses, and then, 
forty days later, led his disciples from Jerusalem as far out as 
Bethany, and there, in their presence, on one of the last evenings of 
May, when the fleecy clouds in that golden hour, like celestial 
islands in the radiant sea of the sunset sky were lifting from earth 
toward Heaven, like incense rising from a holy shrine, He was 
lifted on the wings of one of those matchless May clouds and 
borne to his "Father's House of Many Mansions", there to prepare 
a place for you and for me. 

And this testimony of the Gospel Writers is overwhelmingly 
corroborated and supported by friend and foe alike. Now, by cor- 
roborating evidence I mean additional, supplementary evidence 
to that already given and which tends to strengthen or confirm it, 
as defined in State v. Lassiter, 191 N. C, 212; and by supporting 
evidence is meant evidence which is independent of, and other 
than, that of the principal or original witnesses to the fact sought 

Musings of a Mountaineer 105 

to be proved, as declared by our Court in State v. Ferguson, 107 
N. C, 851. 

First, then, in corroboration of the Gospel Writers I call your 
attention to the testimony of the five Apostolic Fathers, Barnabas, 
Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Hermas, and Polycarp, none of whom 
were eye-witnesses to Christ but most of whom were disciples of 
one or the other of the Apostles who were eye-witnesses, and who 
toward the end of the First, and in the beginning of the Second 
Century, wrote books in which they tell substantially the same 
story; and these books were for centuries included in the New 
Testament and are still included in the Catholic Bible as a part of 
the inspired writings relating to Christ. 

And when we invade the precincts of the unbeliever, we find 
that the Gospel Writers are supported by original, substantive 
evidence of the weightiest sort. 

Philo, the Alexandrian Jew, who wrote less than ten years after 
the Crucifixion, makes direct reference to Christ. That portion of 
the Jewish Talmud, or commentaries on the Hebrew Law, written 
after the Crucifixion of Christ, makes numerous references to Him; 
and that the miracles of Christ were, at the time, admitted by the 
Jews, we have proof in a book now extant, and which is very 
ancient, dating back to the First Century perhaps, entitled "Told- 
oth Jeschu", or Generation of Jesus, in which his miracles, except 
the resurrection, are acknowledged but attributed to magical art. 

But Josephus, who was the greatest among the Jewish writers 
of ancient times, and whose books have come down to us verified 
beyond any question, is the most important witness among the 
Jewish unbelievers of the First Century. He was born only four 
years after the Crucifixion. In his childhood he listened no doubt 
to his parents as they told the marvelous things they had seen and 
heard. He visited Rome when he was but twenty-three years old and 
while Nero was on the throne. He was a Pharisee of great ability, 
educated for the priesthood, and was a man of broad views and 
extensive knowledge of the world. As he advanced in years and 
was growing old, he wrote a history of his people, of their antiqui- 
ties and their wars, their victories and their defeats, their glories 
and their disasters, their pride and their downfall. Now in what 
respect does he corroborate and support the Gospel Writers? 

The Gospel Writers tell us that John the Baptist was the fore- 
runner of Christ, and that he was imprisoned and put to death by 

106 Random Thoughts and the 

Herod, and Josephus says: "Now some of the Jews thought that 
the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very 
justly, as a punishment for what he did against John who was 
called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and 
commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness 
towards one another and piety towards God, and so come to 

We are told in the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke, that 
James the Just was the brother of Christ; and Josephus says: 
"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was put on the road; so he 
assembled the Sanhedrin of Judges, and brought before them the 
brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, 
and some others, and when he had formed an accusation against 
them as breakers of the law he delivered them to be stoned." 

But now listen to his great admission, which not only establishes 
the fact of Christ as a Man but is practically an admission of his 
divinity. Here is what he says: "Now there was about this time 
Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a Man, for He was 
the doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the 
truth with pleasure. He drew over to Him both many of the Jews 
and many of the Gentiles. (He was the Christ.) And when Pilate, 
at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, condemned 
Him to the cross, those that loved Him at the first did not forsake 
Him; for He appeared to them alive again the third day as the 
Divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonder- 
ful things concerning Him. And the tribe of Christians, so named 
for Him, are not extinct to this day." 

Now here are four Jewish unbelievers of the First Century testi- 
fying that Jesus of Nazareth did live; and Josephus not only admits 
the fact of his life and that he was the doer of wonderful works, 
but asserts that He was put to death by the order of Pontius Pilate. 

And this is not all. When we invade the pagan world we are 
met at every step with proof aliunde, which is plenary and con- 
clusive. Tacitus, the greatest and most reliable of all pagan his- 
torians, writing in the latter part of the First Century, in regard to 
the great fire which raged at Rome in the reign of Nero, and 
within thirty years after the death of the Savior, makes an awful 
record of the knowledge which the Roman people had of Christ 
and His followers. He says: "A rumor had gone forth everywhere 
that at the very time when the city was in flames, the Emperor 

Musings of a Mountaineer 107 

appeared on a private stage and sang of the destruction of Troy, 
comparing present misfortunes with the calamities of antiquity, 
and that, in spite of all his lavish gifts and the propitiation of the 
Gods he could not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration 
was the result of an order." 

And then, in his famous Annals, in his own terse and graphic 
language, and in bitter hostility to the Christian religion, speaking 
from a pagan stand-point, Tacitus proceeds to say: "Consequently, 
to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt, and inflicted the 
most exquisite tortures, on a class hated for their abominations, 
called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name 
had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of 
Tiberius, at the hands of one of his Procurators, Pontius Pilate, 
and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, 
again broke out, not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but 
even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every 
part of the world find their center and become popular." 

I next introduce Pliny the Younger, a Roman, who was Gov- 
ernor of Pontus and Bithynia in Asia, and who, in his celebrated 
letter written in the year 107, to the Emperor, Trajan, requesting 
instructions with reference to the trial and punishment of the 
Christians in his Province, has this to say: "That Jesus was wor- 
shipped by his followers as God." And he then adds: "They sing 
among themselves, alternately, a hymn to Christ as to God." 

I now offer the testimony of Suetonius, a Roman historian who 
also flourished in the reign of the Emperor, Trajan, and who wrote 
in the year 116: "That Claudius Caesar expelled the Jews from 
Rome, because they raised continual tumults at the instigation of 
Christ, who (it is well known) was sometimes called Chrestus, and 
his disciples Chrestians." 

I now introduce a witness in whose testimony I have great faith, 
because it constitutes the highest degree of proof known to the law, 
and is contained in a document as fully accounted for as any book 
or document of ancient times. 

We learn from Roman historians that the ancient Romans were 
particularly careful to preserve the memory of all remarkable events 
which happened in the City; and this was done in their Acts or laws 
of the Senate, and in the daily Acts or resolutions of the people. 

In like manner, it was customary for the Governors of the Pro- 
vinces to send to the Emperor an account of remarkable transac- 

108 Random Thoughts and the 

tions that occurred in the places where they resided, which were 
preserved as the Acts of their respective governments. And it was 
in obedience to this custom that the history of the early church 
was called, and is still designated "The Acts of the Apostles." In 
conformity with this usage, Pilate kept records of the Jewish affairs 
during his procuratorship, which were therefore call the Acts of 
Pilate, and which give a complete account of the trial and cruci- 
fixion of Jesus, in every detail, substantially as recorded by the 
Gospel Writers. 

Referring to this usage, Eusebius, a Christian author who wrote 
in the year 315, makes this statement: "Our Savior's resurrection 
being much talked of throughout Palestine, Pilate informed the 
Emperor of it, as likewise of his miracles of which he had heard; 
and that being raised up after He was put to death, He was already 
believed by many to be a God." Now these accounts, we are told, 
were never published for general perusal, but were deposited among 
the Archives of the Empire at Rome, where they served as a fund of 
information for historians, and where they could be consulted just 
as we consult records in the Courthouse. 

And so we find that long before the time of Eusebius, the primi- 
tive Christians, in their disputes with the Gentiles, appealed to these 
Acts of Pilate, as to testimony of the highest and weightiest char- 
acter. Thus it was that Justin Martyr, in the first book he wrote in 
defense of Christianity, and which he presented to the Emperor, 
Antonius Pius, and the Senate of Rome, in the year 138, having 
mentioned the crucifixion of Jesus and some of its attendant cir- 
cumstances, has this to say: "And that these things were so done 
you may know from the *Acts of Pontius Pilate'." And later on, 
in the same book having noticed some of our Lord's miracles, such 
as healing diseases and raising the dead, he adds: "And that these 
things were done by Him, you may know from the Acts made in 
the time of Pontius Pilate." 

And the learned Tertullian, in a book written in defense of 
Christianity, in the year 200, after speaking of the Savior's cruci- 
fixion and resurrection, and his appearance to his disciples, and 
his ascension into heaven in the sight of the same disciples, who 
were ordained by him to publish the Gospel over all the world, thus 
proceeds: "Of all these things relating to Christ, Pilate himself, 
in his conscience already a Christian, sent an account to Tiberius, 
then Emperor." And the same writer, in the same book, then relates 

Musings of a Mountaineer 109 

the proceedings of Tiberius on receiving this information, in this 
language: "There was an ancient decree that no one should be 
received for a Deity unless he was first approved by the Senate. 
Tiberius, in whose time the Christian name had its rise, having 
received from Palestine in Syria an account of such things, as 
manifested the truth of his (Christ's) divinity, proposed to the 
Senate that he should be enrolled among the Roman Gods, and 
gave his own prerogative vote in favor of the motion. But the Senate 
(without whose consent no deification could take place) rejected 
it, because the Emperor himself had declined the same honor. 
Nevertheless, the Emperor persisted in his opinion and threatened 
punishment to the accusers of the Christians." 

And then Tertullian makes a remarkable statement in corrobora- 
tion of the Gospel Writers with respect to one incident occurring 
at the crucifixion, in these words: "At the moment of Christ's 
death, the light departed from the sun, and the land was darkened 
at noonday; which wonder is related in your own Annals, and is 
preserved in your archives to this day." What Annals were pre- 
served in the Archives of Rome in the year 200 when Tertullian 
was writing these words? The report of Pilate, of course, and the 
inevitable and irresistible inference is that both he and Justin 
Martyr saw the original among the records at Rome, just as we 
may see and consult a record in the Courthouse today. 

Now, I have given you the testimony of four Jewish and four 
Pagan witnesses, including Pilate. This testimony begins with the 
crucifixion itself and extends over a period of only eighty-three 
years, and while the facts were still fresh within the memory of 
countless thousands of living men. All these witnesses were unbe- 
lievers, respecting the divinity of Christ; but all admit that there 
was a man called Jesus, or Christ, who lived in Judea; that he was 
the author of Christianity, and Josephus the Jew and Tacitus the 
Roman say that He suffered death by crucifixion by the order of 
Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine, and Pilate admits 
that they told the truth! 

The testimony of all of these witnesses is what the law terms 
admissions; and an admission in law is the acknowledgment of the 
existence of a fact, of which the admission itself constitutes evi- 
dence in the sense that it dispenses with proof of the fact embraced 
in the admission. 

1 10 Random Thoughts and the 

And our Supreme Court has held in Helms v. Green, 105 N. C, 
at page 262, that in trials all allegations of fact, admitted or not 
denied, require no proof, and have the force and affect of a finding 
or verdict of a jury. 

But the report of Pilate is more than an admission. It is a con- 
fession; and a confession, in law, is the voluntary declaration made 
by a person who has committed a crime to another, acknowledging 
his agency or participation in the crime. 

And Pilate, in his report to Tiberius, confesses that after the 
Jewish Sanhedrin had convicted Jesus of blasphemy on false and 
perjured testimony, and after he had acquitted Him of the charge 
of treason preferred in the Roman Court, because he could find 
in Him no fault at all, he surrendered Him, unaided and un- 
friended, to the enkindled vengeance of a howling, murderous mob, 
and thereby became an accessory before the fact, and therefore a 
principal in the second degree in the crime of murder. 

And Mr. Chief Justice Stacy, of our own Supreme Court, in 
State v. Livingston, 200 N. C, at page 810, tells us that a con- 
fession is deserving of the highest credit, because it is presumed to 
flow from the strongest sense of guilt, and is the highest evidence 
of truth, even in cases affecting human life. 

I now call your attention to a form of proof furnished by the 
silence of witnesses. It oftentime happens in trials that the silence 
of your adversary speaks in louder tones in support of your cause 
than any amount of proof you may offer, because it is a rule of 
law that if you can prove your adversary to be in possession of 
facts material to the issue, which he withholds from the jury, the 
law presumes that such facts are against him and that they would 
support the proposition you are seeking to establish. 

Such a presumption arises from the statement of Paul when he 
said: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, 
how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and 
that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day accord- 
ing to the Scripture; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the 
twelve; and after that He was seen of above five hundred brethren 
at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but 
some are fallen asleep. And after that He was seen of James; and 
then of all the Apostles, and last of all He was seen of me also, as 
one born out of due time." This statement of Paul was written in 
the year 57, only twenty- four years after the crucifixion, and before 

Musings of a Mountaineer 111 

any of the Gospels was written, and its authenticity, as it appears 
in his first letter to the Corinthians, has never been questioned by 
even the most disdainful or suspicious of the skeptics; and there 
is no record that the truth of this statement was ever disputed or 
denied by any unbeliever within the lifetime of any of the five 
hundred witnesses to whom Paul referred, except the record made 
by the Gospel Writers themselves. 

And upon this great question, fraught with such tremendous 
consequences to the human race, it is a fact of the most transcendent 
importance that of all the investigations and researches and discov- 
eries of travelers and scholars and men of letters, not a vestige of 
antiquity, nor a book, nor a letter, nor a scrap of account, nor even 
the scratch of a pen have ever been found which impeach the 
credibility of the witnesses I have introduced in this argument, or 
which dispute or contradict the awful facts they relate, until the 
year 178 when Celsus, a Greek scholar, wrote a book in which he 
challenged the divine origin of Christianity; and even he admits 
the fact of Christ but denies his divinity. 

And so, these witnesses stand unimpeached and unimpeachable; 
for it is likewise a rule of law, as declared in State v. Jones, 77 
N. C, at page 510, that the law presumes, and the jury should 
presume, that an uncontradicted witness speaks truly rather than 
falsely; and it is also a maxim of Equity, applied in the law of 
estoppel, that he who remains silent when duty requires him to 
speak will be debarred from speaking when justice requires him 
to remain silent. 

If, then, for one hundred and seventy-eight years there is no 
record of any evidence in contradiction of this voluminous proof, 
to which a host of other witnesses might be added — when thousands 
of men then living in that educated and enlightened age must have 
had first-hand knowledge of the facts related by the witnesses — by 
what rule of law, or logic or justice, after the flight of nineteen 
centuries, ought the Atheist now to be heard in his effort to close 
to mankind the door of hope, when every day, either consciously 
or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, he acknowledges (for 
example) this is the year of our Lord, 1941? 

Then hear me when I say that the jury of the world and of the 
ages has long ago rendered its solemn and final verdict that, 
whether human or Divine, the Son of Man was the grandest 
Personage that ever graced the mighty tide of time; and I assert 

112 Random Thoughts and the 

that as well might mortal man stretch forth his puny arm toward 
the sky and seek to quench its eternal fires, as to attempt to dim 
or destroy the figure of the Son of Man, as he stands in the supernal 
splendor of his majesty and glory on the pages of authentic history. 

Now, is Jesus the divine Son of God and the Savior of the 
World? On this question depends the entire structure of Chris- 
tianity, and without which it would long ago have crumbled in 
ruins and been swept away. 

The Atheist, the Agnostic, and the Skeptic, although many of 
them admit that there was and is a Great First Cause — an Almighty 
Ruler of the Universe — and although many of them admit that 
Jesus of Nazareth was in fact an historic character, yet they claim 
that nothing miraculous ever took place in his career, that He was 
not Divine, and never wrought a miracle, because a miracle would 
involve a suspension of natural law or some interference with 
Nature's laws. I reply that miracles, such as the wonders wrought 
by Christ, are acts of God, and belief in miracle is simply the state- 
ment of the position that if there is a living God, He must reveal 
Himself to the understanding of men by definite acts. Belief in 
miracle, therefore, and belief in God, are one and the same thing, 
and it is inconsistent and inconceivable to accept the one and 
deny the other. And I reply further that the power to create implies 
the power to destroy, and if the power to create implies the power 
to destroy, it follows as the night follows the day that the power 
to create implies the power to modify or to suspend. Is not thought 
— human thought, — controlled and governed by natural law, and 
is not thought completely suspended while we sleep and completely 
restored when we awake? Then why should men and women doubt 
or question the miracles of Christ, wrought nineteen centuries ago, 
when countless miracles, as difficult of human comprehension, are 
happening every hour of every day before our very eyes? 

Is not the birth of every little child as great a wonder, as much 
a miracle, as if it sprang full-grown, like Minerva, from the brow 
of Olympian Jove? Is it any more wonderful that the sun, at the 
behest of Joshua, stood still upon Gibeon, or the moon over the 
Valley of Ajalon, than that the great world should spin in space 
forever, and bring the nights and the mornings and the seed-time 
and the harvest? 

Musings of a Mountaineer 113 

When the storm is high and furious, why does it not continue to 
rage, and when the winds are calm and still, what is it that arouses, 
the storm? Did He not Himself tell us that "the wind bloweth 
where it listeth, and we know not whence it cometh nor whither 
it goeth?" 

If the great Architect of the Universe could in the creative period 
make the heavens and the earth and the oceans, and with his Al- 
mighty hand whirl them into space; if by the exercise of his mighty 
will He could separate the light from the darkness, and control the 
ebb and flow of the tides of the sea; if He could counfound Chaos 
with Order and lay the foundations of the Universe deep from the 
Night of Nothingness, and uprear its mighty columns towering 
into empty space, and wreathe them with constellations of stellar 
worlds; if He could carpet Creation's Temples with emerald, crown 
them with the empurpled hills, roof them with azure, and light 
them up with ten thousand suns, and spin planets along their orbits 
and force comets to kindle their fires upon the black altars of the 
night, — could He not as easily, through the Person of his Son, walk 
upon the crested waves, and bid "peace, be still" to the troubled 
waters of Galilee, and calm the raging fury of the tempest? 

A grain of corn planted in the soil will within a few months 
increase a hundredfold. A few repetitions of the process will pro- 
duce grain sufficient to meet the needs of entire communities. Then 
should I deny that the Son of God multiplied a few loaves and 
fishes, so that five thousand had plenty and to spare, when I know 
that the same mysterious power which causes the sun to shine, and 
the rains to descend, and the seasons to come and go, likewise 
causes the seeds scattered over the face of the fields to germinate 
and grow and ripen into a plenteous harvest to feed the countless 
millions of the world? 

You may take your garden hoe and dig a little grave and bury 
in it a little brown grape seed. Soon tender-hearted April comes and 
weeps and smiles over it in alternate shower and sunshine, and then 
bids it come forth, when lo, it rises from its bursting tomb, trans- 
figured into a plant of living green. The plant soon develops into 
a vine which sends forth white blossoms, followed by bunches of 
green grapes, which, after a little while, turn into rich purple 
clusters of ripened fruit, containing 90 per cent of water and ten 
per cent of sugar. Now here is a mystery that baffles the scientists; 
here is a miracle that staggers the Atheist. But, after all, what is 

114 Random Thoughts and the 

nature but mystery, and what are its processes but miracles daily 
enacted in our very presence? I know and you know that there is 
a poetry in the fragrance of flowers that cannot be born of words; 
that there are pearls that cannot be strung upon the thread of 
language; and that there are enchantments that steal away our 
fancies on scented wings. Did you ever breathe the perfume of 
lilies without listening for the rustle of wings, or smell the sweet 
odor of violets without straining your ears for the melody of soft 
music? Did you ever catch a breath of the wild grape's bloom in 
the woodland or shady cove without feeling the magic spell of 
mystery and of miracle? But to go back to the grapes. The har- 
vester comes and gathers the grapes and places them in the wine 
press where, by some mysterious process of nature which I do not 
pretend to be able to understand, fermentation takes place, and 
straightway water is converted into wine. And in this instance there 
is no more of human intervention than when at the Wedding Feast 
in Cana of Galilee in the long ago, the Son of Man converted into 
wine the water which the maids had just carried from the well. 

What is human life but miracle? What, if not miracle, is that 
mysterious spark which, as long as it is within us, gives us life, but 
which, when lost, is followed immediately by the mystery and 
majesty of death? 

In olden times Praxitelles, the greatest of the old Grecian Sculp- 
tors, chiselled from the marble a perfect image of the Goddess, 
Aphrodite, which the universal voice of antiquity acclaimed the 
finest statue in the world. And Michael Angelo, the greatest of the 
Italian sculptors, carved from the marble so perfect an image of the 
beautiful young David that his contemporaries everywhere named 
him the Man of Destiny in the World of Art. But when they had 
placed upon their creations the last touches of their skill and genius, 
they were nothing but cold, heartless, lifeless, soul-less marble still; 
but the great Divine Sculptor, who hung the midnight heavens with 
garlands of glittering gold and painted the rings of Saturn; who 
left his Eternal Throne, star-gemmed, canopied with clouds of 
incense which forever float above the bright effulgence of the solar 
systems and through which rolls the eternal melody of the spheres, 
came down to earth and, making himself the model, fashioned an 
image out of the cold, dead clay and called it man. And when He 
had finished his creation He looked upon his handiwork and pro- 
nounced it good, but not good enough; and then, marshalling all 

Musings of a Mountaineer 115 

of his power and all of his might and all of his wisdom, He created 
another being who, in face and form and beauty, was far superior 
to his first creation, man; and this second being He called woman, 
because she came after man; and then He breathed on his master- 
pieces, and magnificent manhood and glorious womanhood became 
living souls. Then if the Hand of Almighty Power can create 
human life, and endow it with feeling and mind and soul, and can 
provide the motive power which drives that throbbing engine, the 
human heart, with ceaseless, tireless stroke, sending the crimson 
streams of life bounding and circling through every artery and 
every vein, should I any longer wonder or doubt that the Son of 
God spoke at the grave of Lazarus and that at his command the 
dead stepped forth living from the grim embrace of the tomb? 

And now, on the question of his Divinity, I introduce the testi- 
mony of the Savior himself. 

We are told that while John the Baptist was suffering in Herod's 
prison, longing to be assured by Him who spake as never man spake, 
he sent two of his disciples to inquire whether He was really the 
Messiah, or whether they should look for another, and the Scripture 
tells us that "in that same hour He cured many of their infirmities 
and plagues, and of evil spirits, and unto them that were blind He 
gave sight." "Then Jesus answering said unto them, go your way, 
and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the 
blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the 
dead are raised, to the poor the Gospel is preached." 

He announced the same great fact when He said: "I am the 
resurrection and the life! he that believeth in me, though he were 
dead yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me 
shall never die." 

He spoke often and explicitly on this subject and to various 
persons. To the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well; to Peter and his: 
other disciples at Caesarea Philippi; to the blind man whose sight 
He restored at the Pool of Siloam; at the Feast of the Dedication; 
at the Feast of the Tabernacles; and repeatedly, at other times and 
places and to other persons, He announced Himself the Christ and 
in proof pointed to his works. 

He announced his Divinity again when He said: "Let not your 
hearts be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my 

116 Random Thoughts and the 

Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have 
told you. I go to prepare a place for you." 

Not a day seems to have passed during his ministry on earth that 
He did not boldly and distinctly testify to the same great and sub- 
lime fact. He declared indeed, as recorded by John, that He was 
One that bore witness of Himself. 

And when, for the last time, He drew near the Garden of Geth- 
semane, with the shadow of death falling darkly and rapidly around 
Him, with not the semblance of human power in his hands to resist 
even the midnight mob making their way by torchlight to seize 
his sacred Person, He calmly comforted his disciples with words of 
infinite tenderness and love; and then, in the high, exultant tone of 
the conqueror, He exclaimed: "I have overcome the world." 

And who is willing to rise here, or elsewhere throughout the 
broad earth, and dare to undertake to impeach the veracity or 
doubt the Deity of Him who delivered the matchless Sermon on 
the Mount? Who would have the temerity to stand up and aver 
that the Lord's Prayer was uttered by lips polluted with perjury 
and steeped in false pretenses? 

Is there a lawyer on earth so lacking in ability, or so ill-versed 
in trial tactics, that he would be willing to raise such an issue in 
Court in the trial of a cause, and there have the brazen eifrontery 
to attempt to prove that the character of the Son of God for truth 
is not good? That his testimony in regard to his Divinity is un- 
worthy of belief? Ah, no; the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, proven 
as it is by Jew and Pagan — unbelievers of the First Century — and 
Christian witnesses of the same age; eye witnesses and ear- witnesses 
of this all-important truth, as well as by the Christian experiences 
of the countless millions since, is the only solution of Man's most 
transcendant problem, the immortality and destiny of the human 
soul. "If a man die shall he live again?" Is there a life beyond the 
grave? Oh,yes, it must be true that there is a place somewhere 
beyond this "vale of tears" where Life, and Light, and Love, will 
forever be blended into One; some place where father, mother, 
brother, sister, husband, wife, and child and all the noble, precious 
things which the human heart holds dear will be reunited and em- 
paradised in one perfect Life in the loving bosom of a just and 
merciful God! 

Our Supreme Court has said, in the case of Perry v. Insurance 
Company, 137 N. C, 404, that a jury is not justified in finding 

Musings of a Mountaineer 117 

any fact unless the evidence is sufficient to satisfy their minds of 
its truth, or creates in their minds a belief that the fact alleged 
is true. 

Now evidence, as applied in law and logic, includes all the legal 
means by which any legitimate matter of fact, the truth of which 
is submitted to investigation, is established or disproved. 

We believe evidence or refuse to believe it in proportion as we 
have or do not have faith in its credibility and trustworthiness. 
Paul tells us that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the 
evidence of things not seen;" but in all the practical affairs of life 
faith is the assent of the mind to what is stated or asserted by 
another; it is trust or confidence in the veracity of another; firm and 
earnest belief in the assertions or popositions of another on the 
ground of the manifest truth of that which he utters; and faith in 
evidence generates belief. 

Belief is the acceptance of something as true that is not known 
to be true; it is a conviction of the truth of a proposition, existing 
in the mind, and induced by persuasion, proof, or argument ad- 
dressed to the judgment. 

Proof is the result of evidence; and a fact is said to be proved 
when the Court or jury or other person whose duty it is to decide, 
believe in its existence, or regard its existence so probable that a 
man of ordinary prudence ought, under the circumstances of a 
particular case, to act upon the belief or supposition that it does 

If, therefore, faith in evidence generates belief, and evidence 
results in proof, then independent of religious or emotional belief, 
however beautiful that may be, reason, plain, cool, dispassionate 
reason alone, based upon the overwhelming and uncontradicted 
evidence which I have introduced in this argument, irresistibly 
draws our minds to the conclusion that the mighty Nazarene was 
and is the Messiah whose coming the prophets of olden times had 
foretold for centuries; and if Jesus be accepted as the Savior; if 
He be accepted as a Being Divine, an inhabitant of two worlds, 
coming from the realms of eternity to the realms of time, triumph- 
ing over death, robbing the grave of its victory, and returning 
whence He came, then we likewise have absolute proof, without 
doubt, denial, dispute or discussion, that an eternal world exists, 
and in it immortal life; "for God so loved the world that He gave 
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should 

118 Random Thoughts and the 

not perish, but have everlasting life." Then, my friends, behold 
Him, as He sits upon the Throne of the Universe, crowned with 
the glittering stars of heaven, the world the footstool beneath his 
feet; as the day approaches when all nations, assembled, will gladly 
do Him homage, while the gods and goddesses of the voiceless and 
viewless past, and all the sects and cults and creeds of earth will 
confess Him, and kings and queens, if such should still exist, will 
cast their crowns and scepters at his feet and hail Him God! 

Then, my friends, let us not desert Him. Let us, rather, go back 
nineteen centuries and walk with Him up the Via Dolorosa — the 
Way of Death — as he struggled beneath the weight of the Cross 
which they compelled Him to bear. Let us stand by Him while his 
cruel executioners drive the nails through his hands and feet. Let 
us remain with Him all through the long, hot day. One of his 
disciples betrayed Him; another one denied Him; and all, save one, 
deserted Him when the darkest hour of his anguish came. They left 
him alone in Pilate's judgment hall. But his executioners were there; 
the Priests, the Pharisees, the hypocrites, all were there, mocking, 
reviling, insulting, and spitting upon Him; and while He hung in 
unutterable agony upon the cross, the Scribes and the Elders and 
the soldiers were likewise there mocking Him, and as they passed 
by, wagging their hands, some said: "He saved others, Himself He 
could not save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come 
down from the Cross and we will believe Him." But when His 
executioners were nailing to the cross his shrinking hands and feet, 
then and there fell from the lips of the Great Master the sublimest 
utterance in all the literature of all the world, the epitome of every 
Christian virtue and of all religious truth: "Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do." Was that the prayer of a man, 
think you? Ah, no! It was the prayer of a Divine Being — the 
prayer of a God to a God! And this proclamation from the Cross 
repealed the Mosaic law of hereditary sin; placed upon a personal 
basis responsibility for offenses against God and man, and served 
notice on all future generations that those who "know not what 
they do" may still have hope that they, too, may be spared and 

But now Nature itself seemed to wish to hide the horror of the 
awful spectacle. The sky suddenly grew dark. A thick cloud, dark 
as if it had just risen from the very marshes of hell, rose above 
the hills and spread to every corner of the horizon and gathered 

Musings of a Mountaineer 119 

around the sun, and finally covered it with a thick curtain of 
blackness — "and there was a darkness over all the world until the 
ninth hour." And then we are told that "the vail of the temple was 
rent in twain from top to bottom; and the earth did quake, and the 
rocks rent; and the graves were opened and many bodies of the 
Saints which slept arose and came out of the graves, and went into 
the Holy City and appeared unto many." And weeping angels 
clave the darkness with drooping wing; demons ran and screamed, 
and Sinai rocked and heaved on its foundations, while its terrific 
thunders sped through the shivering night — and tore through the 
quivering flesh of the suffering Son of God. 

Three times His enemies had tried to kill Jesus. Once in Naz- 
areth, when they took Him up on the mountain and sought to throw 
Him down. The second time, at the Temple when the Jews, of- 
fended by his talk laid their hands on stones to stone Him; and a 
third time, at the Feast of the Dedication in the winter season when 
they took up the stones of the street to silence Him. But at these 
three times He escaped, for His hour was not yet come. But now 
his adversaries had Him in their clutches, and the Savior of the 
world was dying! But as we listen we can still hear His voice feebly 
saying: "I thirst, I thirst." And then a Roman soldier dipped a 
sponge in vinegar mingled with gall and held it to the lips which 
but a few moments before had prayed for his forgiveness; and 
Jesus, when He had taken the vinegar, said: "It is finished; and He 
bowed his head and gave up the ghost." 

And thus died a God; not as men die, but only as a God could 
die. And I am persuaded to believe that He did not die as the 
direct and proximate result of the physical wounds inflicted upon 
Him. He suffered deeper wounds than those caused by the nails 
in His hands and feet and the spear thrust in His side. The kiss of 
Judas struck far more deeply than the spear of the Roman Leg- 
ionary, and the desertion of his friends was more cruel than the 
crown of thorns. Throughout his entire career on earth He had 
not where to lay his head; Isaiah had prophesied that He would 
be despised and rejected of men and that He would be a "Man 
of Sorrows and acquainted with grief," and I believe that the Son 
of Man, victim of more than his physical self could endure, died 
of a broken heart. 

He came into the world not to destroy, but to fulfill the law, 
and now the law had exacted his life as the penalty for his offer to 


save the world from sin. He came to save the souls of men, and 
now men had caused Him to suffer unspeakable anguish of the 
soul. He came to bring to men the Water of Life, and while He 
hung on the Cross, burning up with fever caused by suffering in- 
flicted by men, men gave Him vinegar to drink. He came to bring 
to men the promise and assurance of eternal life, and now men had 
caused Him to suffer an indescribably horrible and ignominious 
death; and now "It is finished." What was it that was finished? A 
plan of salvation was finished. A plan providing for the redemption 
of the souls of men was finished. The full price had been paid and 
the sublime sacrifice had been made; "for greater love hath no man 
than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". But now, 
"It is finished." And the winds caught up the glorious words and 
murmured them along the glens and whispered them among the 
rocks, and sang them through the trees and sounded them in the 
caves, and trumpeted them in the hurricane and thundered them in 
the storm — till every rippling wave and foaming surge, every hill 
and mountain peak, every continent and all the islands of the sea 
shouted them to other spheres; and the glad tidings sped from 
World to World, from Star to Star, and from Sun to Sun, until 
at last the Angel Hosts in Chorus pealed them across the air of 
Heaven into the glad ear of enraptured Deity — "It is finished! It 
is finished!" 



To everything there is a season, and a time for 
every purpose under the heaven ... a time to keep 
silence and a time to speak. 


The following speech was delivered at the Annual Meeting of 
the Thirteenth District Bar Association at Wadesboro, September 
21, 1940. 

Mr. President, and Brethren of the Thirteenth District Bar 

I deeply appreciate the honor conferred by the invitation to 
address the members of the Thirteenth District Bar Association. 
I have been frequently called upon to address meetings of the 
lawyers in the several counties in which I have held Courts, and 
for a long time it has been my purpose to prepare an address on 
"The Ideal Lawyer", and that shall be my theme tonight. 

As a young man I studied law for about three months in a law 
school, or until I had passed my examinations on the first two books 
of Blackstone. The remainder of the course I pursued alone, at 
night without an instructor. I felt in those days that the lack of 
college training was an insurmountable draw back; and yet, to me, 
it may have been a blessing in disguise, for it made clear to me 
that my only hope for even a modicum of success in my profession 
was to become an untiring student. And as the years have come 
and gone I have learned to appreciate the truths uttered in Emer- 
son's greatest Essay on Compensation. I have learned that there nev- 
er was a worth while truth discovered that was not the price of ag- 
ony. I have learned that there never was a worth while victory won 
that did not cost pain and anguish. I have learned that it is a law of 
life, that no man has ever yet been able to accomplish anything 
really worth while until he has first paid the penalty of suffering 
or death for the triumph of his dream. 

122 Random Thoughts and the 

As Clerk of the Court; as Solicitor; as a practicing attorney, 
and as Judge of the Superior Courts, I have spent forty years of 
my life in the Courthouse. I have the honor to be a member of 
the Bars of all the States adjoining North Carolina — Virginia, 
Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina, and in these and other 
States it has been my privilege to have associations and contests 
with the ablest and the best; and in my own State my experience 
in that respect has been rich and extensive. 

I mention these personal experiences in order to say that what 
I shall say to you tonight about the "Ideal Lawyer" is the result 
of my observation, experience and study over a period of forty 

I am glad indeed that so many of the lawyers of your District 
are present here tonight. I have presided in the Courts of all the 
Counties in the Western Division, and have held some Courts in 
the Eastern Division, and I wish to say now that I have found no- 
where in the State abler lawyers or finer men than those who com- 
pose the Bar of the Thirteenth District. 

I shall address my remarks primarily to the younger members 
of your Bar, because if I shall be able to say anything that is 
really worth while, it is my wish that they shall profit by it. How- 
ever, I am perfectly willing for you older lawyers to profit by what 
I shall say if you feel so inclined. You may feel like an old moun- 
taineer up in my country who died a few years ago. His name was 
Boney Ridley, and his boon companion for fifty years was an old 
country Doctor by the name of "Snipe McCloud". They were 
congenial spirits, and for fifty years they had their drinks together, 
usually at Boney's cabin up on the side of Co wee Mountain, to the 
sorrow of "Aunt Polly", Boney's wife. It is told of them that on 
some occasion they went to Asheville together to see a show or to 
attend some sort of celebration. This occasion was back in the 
days of the open saloon, and the cocktails and the toddies flowed 
until at last these old friends reached the point where they could 
no longer recognize one another. That night Boney wobbled 
diagonally across the street where a man was swinging to a tele- 
phone pole. Boney got hold of the pole and said: "Mister, can you 
tell me if thish ish the opposhite shide of the street?" The man 
addressed was the old Doctor, but Boney did not know it. Neither 
did the Doctor know that it was Boney who addressed him, but he 
politely replied: "Why, no, you durned fool you, that shide over 

Musings of a Mountaineer 123 

across there ish the opposhite side." And then Boney said: "Well, 
shomebody ish wrong about it, for I shust now asked a durned 
fool on the other shide, and he shaid thish wash the apposhite 
side!" It is said that after the old men returned home "Uncle" 
Boney protracted the "Celebration" for two or three months; or at 
all events until he was almost dead. So "Aunt" Polly sent for the 
old Doctor. When he came she met him before he entered the 
cabin, and told him that unless something was done at once to stop 
Boney from drinking he could not possibly live many days longer. 
She told the old Doctor that Boney had unbounded faith in him, 
and she believed that if the Doctor would try he could frighten 
Boney to the extent that he would leave the liquor alone. The 
Doctor promised to cooperate, and when he had finished his diag- 
nosis he told Boney that he had reached the limit; that if he ever 
got drunk again he was certain to lose his sight and would never 
again be able to see anything. The Doctor's admonition had the 
desired effect, and so, for a few months Boney drank nothing but 
water. One day however, when he had gone off down the road, 
"Aunt" Polly saw him coming staggering up the path with a gallon 
jug in each end of a sack that was hanging across his shoulder. 
When he came in and placed his jugs on the floor "Aunt" Polly 
said: "Lord have mercy, Boney; here you are drunk again! Don't 
you remember Doctor McCloud said that if you ever got drunk 
again you would lose your sight, and never see anything at all as 
long as you lived?" "Uncle" Boney brushed the cobwebs from his 
eyes, walled them around toward "Aunt" Polly, and said: "Thash 
all right about me never seein' anything any more, I've already seed 
everything that's wuth seein'!" 

Or it may be that you are like the man who was suddenly 
stricken with total blindness and a complete loss of memory. His 
local physician sent him to New York to consult a noted specialist, 
who, after completing his diagnosis, said to the patient: "I have 
a remedy that will fully restore your sight, but the inevitable effect 
of it will be to make your other affliction permanent. On the other 
hand, I can administer a remedy that will completely restore your 
memory, so that it will be as perfect as it ever was, but the necessary 
effect of this medicine will be to render your sight incurable; so I 
suggest that you consider the matter for a few weeks so that you 
may decide to your own satisfaction which remedy your prefer. 
The patient immediately replied: "I want you to cure my eyes 

124 Random Thoughts and the 

and restore my sight, for I prefer by a durned sight to be able to 
see where I am going from now on, rather than be able to remem- 
ber some of the places where I have already been!" 

One of the very greatest needs of our State and Nation today is 
knowledge of the law. Every citizen of the United States should 
read and study and try to understand our Federal Constitution 
and the Constitution of his own State; and yet I know many 
lawyers who frankly admit that they have not looked at these 
venerable documents since leaving school, and even then they had 
no clear conception of their meaning. And yet, Learning is a kind 
Goddess, and she always comes to those who seek her with conse- 
crated hearts. She gives the pauper in the wretched hut as warm 
a welcome as the prince in his marble palace. The statutes of our 
own State these lawyers have never attempted to read, much less 
to master them. What knowledge they possess of the statutory 
law and of the great, fundamental principles of the common law, 
they have obtained by looking at the index of a certain book on 
which a question has arisen, and in this way have become familiar 
with a few principles, but the rest has remained to them a sealed 
book, an unsolved problem. 

How can a man expect to become an ideal lawyer until he makes 
himself the master of the law? And yet, any person with ordinary 
intelligence, with a fair knowledge of the English language, and 
surely one with a preliminary legal education, can, without an 
instructor, by studying diligently three hours each day for five 
years, become familiar with all the important legal principles in 
our Jurisprudence, and the books in which they are contained. 

The latest Edition of Michie's North Carolina Code, which 
contains all the Public Statutes of the State, has about twenty-six 
hundred pages, not including the Index. A slow reader, reading 
three hours a day, can read every word in it in less than six weeks, 
and a rapid reader can become familiar with it in much less time. 

Corpus Juris contains seventy-one volumes of about one thousand 
pages each. These pages include the whole body of the common 
law, as declared by the Courts; and by reading three hours a day 
an average reader can read the entire seventy-one volumes in less 
than two years. Then add to this reading Mcintosh on North 
Carolina Procedure, a book of less than twelve hundred pages, 
Philips on Code pleading, a book of less than six hundred pages, 
and some approved author on Evidence, thus familiarizing himself 

Musings of a Mountaineer 125 

with the fundamental principles of the law, the rules of procedure, 
practice, pleading and proof, and the young lawyer and the older 
lawyer as well, will have such foundation as every one must have 
who aspires to become an ideal lawyer. 

The ideal lawyer is one who has so thoroughly equipped himself 
that he can render his client that character of sane, sound and 
wholesome advice that will steer him clear of the dangers and pit- 
falls of litigation. He is one who can dictate a contract or other 
document that will so clearly express the intention of the parties 
that interpretation will never be necessary. The ideal lawyer is one 
who by reason of his mastery of the simple but logical rules of 
pleading is able to dictate, in appropriate legal phraseology, a 
pleading that will clearly state a cause of action or defense, and 
by reason of his understanding of the rules of evidence, the prin- 
ciples of psychology as applied to human motive and conduct, and 
the plain, e very-day maxims of common sense, can go into the 
Court-room and present his cause in such orderly and logical way 
that the minds of both Judge and jury will be led unerringly to 
a correct solution of the questions involved like unto the certainty 
with which the magnetic needle points to the North Star; and who 
even then can follow his case to the Appellate Court, and there, 
present the point for decision with such clearness and force that 
the law will be correctly decided and applied. 

Where he adds to this preparation a complete mastery of the 
facts and the law of the cases in which he engages he will win, 
even though the decision may be against him, for he will have the 
consciousness of duty well discharged, and in most instances he 
will receive the plaudits and gratitude of his client. 

This sort of preparation will make a resourceful lawyer, and 
resourcefulness is one of the greatest weapons a trial lawyer can 
have. There will be many times in the experience of the trial lawyer 
when he will be "knocked off his feet" in the Court-room, and it is 
then that he needs resourcefulness. 

Many years ago a lawyer by the name of Todd practiced in Ashe 
County. On one occasion he was arguing a cause in the Supreme 
Court, and he was endeavoring to illustrate his argument by telling 
something about the "Petrified Forest" in Arizona. He called it the 
"Pee trifled Forest". He said: "May it please Your Honors, when 
that thing happened — whatever it was that caused the forest to 
peetrify and the trees to turn into stone, a pheasant was soaring 

126 Random Thoughts and the 

above the forest, and when the forest peetrified, whatever caused 
that, also caused the pheasant to peetrify, and through all the ages 
since, that pheasant has been there poised in the air above the 
forest, peetrified!" At this point Judge Hoke interrupted to say: 
"Brother Todd, I am not so sure about the pheasant; it occurs to 
me that the law of gravitation would have caused the pheasant to 
fall down to the earth." Instantly Mr. Todd replied: "Yes, Your 
Honor, but they tell me that at this particular place the law of 
gravitation itself was peetrified!" 

Henry G. Robertson, until he lost his health, practiced law in 
Macon County. He was arguing a case in the Supreme Court. He 
said: "My right to prevail in this appeal depends upon the estab- 
lishment of either one of two propositions." He then argued the 
first proposition, to his own, and as he believed, to the entire satis- 
faction of the Court, and began to argue the second. Chief Justice 
Stacy interrupted Mr. Robertson to inquire: "Now, you say that 
beyond any question you have established your first position. If 
you are certain of that, and if the establishment of your first 
position must inevitably give you a new trial, what boots it whether 
you establish your second position or not?" Mr. Robertson replied: 
"Your Honor, it boots it a whole lot. If the Court happens to be 
against me on the first position, and denies me the right to establish 
the second, I will be 'booted' out of Court; and if I have to go out, 
I don't want to go out barefooted!" 

Every trial lawyer has had the unpleasant experience of having 
to explain to his client how he happened to lose his case. Many 
lawyers are able to induce him to believe that his failure was due 
to the bias of the jury or the ignorance or prejudice of the Judge. 

Shortly before I went upon the Bench I attended our Supreme 
Court at Raleigh. I had nine cases there on appeal and I lost eight 
of them. After returning home I was doing my best to explain to 
my client in one of the cases that I lost, and I soon relaized that 
my explanation was not having the effect desired. But in my des- 
peration I seized upon what I conceived to be a very brilliant idea; 
and so I said to him: "Now, you have no reason to feel so dis- 
appointed over this adverse decision. Yours is not the only case I 
lost. I lost eight of the nine cases I had at that term of the Court." 
He dropped his head and reflected a moment and then looked 
at me and said: "Well, if I was you, and got treated that way 

Musings of a Mountaineer 127 

down there, I wouldn't give them durned fellers any more of my 

It is by no means essential that in order for one to become an 
ideal lawyer that he shall also be an orator. Thrice blest is he if 
he has this gift of the Gods; but any intelligent person by the con- 
tinuous study of words may acquire a splendid vocabulary and by 
study and practice may become a persuasive, convincing, or even 
an eloquent speaker. The orator and the poet are no longer, as 
they were in past ages, the chief teachers of the people, furnishing 
to the community its governing ideas, and exercising over its mental 
operations an almost absolute control. The art of printing now 
aifords to the thinker the readiest means of conveying thought, 
and offers to the scholar a method of acquiring knowledge far 
more convenient and available than any kind of oral communica- 
tion. The general diffusion of intelligence, by gradually delivering 
man from the dominion of his passions and enthroning reason as 
the mistress of his actions, renders him less susceptible to sudden 
impulses, whether engendered by ideas suggested to him from 
within or from without. The wonderful energies of the newspaper 
and the periodical press so widely and so quickly disseminate in- 
formation upon all topics of social, political, and private interest; 
the extension of commercial relations and the more settled condition 
of civil society, have made infrequent those occasions of public 
excitement which give to the orator a worthy theme and an eager 
audience. And yet it is true that every age and every State and 
every County has its orators to whom the learned and the illiterate 
pay equal honor. Every great national or State emergency finds 
some mind to appreciate and some tongue to express its momentous 
issues, and to such orators the multitude still lend willing ears, 
and accord the homage of obedient hearts; and when such emer- 
gencies arise the voice which warns us of the danger and urges us to 
action meets with a response as swift and vigorous as Athens gave 
to the fiery appeals of Demosthenes to wage war against Philip. 

And so, for the lawyers who aspire to become advocates, as in 
our youth most of us do, the cultivation of the art of oratory is still 
absolutely necessary. Judges and jurors are but men, having the 
same natural indifference to what does not directly affect them- 
selves, as other men; and whatever may be their disposition to do 
their exact duty, they need assistance in ascertaining what their 
duty is and in overcoming any prejudice or bias which may hinder 

128 Random Thoughts and the 

them from doing it. It is the office of the lawyer to furnish this 
assistance, to interest them in the questions they are to determine, 
to lead them step by step to the conclusion that his claims are just, 
and thus to compel them to award their judgment in his favor. But 
in presenting your cause it will be well to remember that a question 
or proposition accurately stated is already half decided. It will be 
well, too, to avoid on the one hand the "spread-eagle" style of 
oratory, which the North American Review defines as "a com- 
pound of exaggeration, effrontery, bombast and extravagance; 
mixed metaphors, meaningless platitudes, appeals to sordid senti- 
ment, defiant threats thrown at the world, and irreverent appeals 
flung at the Almighty." 

And on the other hand it will be well to avoid the extreme de- 
scribed by the poet in these words: 

"Satan came up to the earth one day, 
And into a Courthouse took his way, 
Just as a lawyer with very grave face 
Commenced to argue the points in a case. 

Now, a lawyer his Majesty never had seen, 

For to his dominions none had ever been; 

'Tis the fault of my agents his Majesty thought, 

That none of these Lawyers have ever been caught. 

And so for his own pleasure he felt a desire 

To come to the earth and the reason inquire. 

Now, when the first lawyer had come to a close, 
The counsel opposing him fearlessly rose, 
And heaped such abuse on the head of the first 
That he made him a villain, of all men the worst. 

Each claimed that he was right and the other was wrong, 
And they sparred and contended and argued so long, 
That, concluding he'd heard enough of the fuss, 
*01d Nick' turned away and soliloquized thus: 

They have puzzled the Judge with their endless cavil; 
And I'm free to confess they have puzzled the Devil; 
My agents were right; let the lawyers alone, 
If I had them they would argue me out of my throne." 

Musings of a Mountaineer 129 

Sometimes my lawyers speak so long and so loud that I am 
tempted to repeat the prayer of an old colored man up in my 
country. He had gone across the mountain into another community 
to visit some of his people. As he returned night overtook him. A 
severe electrical storm had arisen in the meantime, and the old man 
was trying to follow a dim path by the lightning flashes. Finally 
he lost the path and he decided to pray. Just as he got to his knees 
a bolt of lightning struck and shivered into splinters a large tree 
that stood near by. As the echo of the thunder rolled away through 
the gorges, in this manner the old darky prayed: "Oh, Lawd, I 
'spec' you alls knows what you is doin\ I 'spec' you alls knows 
more bettah how to manage a thunder storm dan I does; but Lawd 
if its all de same to you alls I do wish you alls would give us a little 
mo' light and not quite so much racket!" 

My ideal lawyer is one who never resorts to sordid and impas- 
sioned appeals to passion, or prejudice, or hate; but, recognizing 
that the jury is often composed of men who are unlearned, inex- 
perienced and impulsive, who may be swayed by sallies of wit or 
stampeded by furious denunciations and onslaughts of the trained 
lawyer, will undertake to lift them from the thraldom of all im- 
proper feeling, so that they may with unclouded minds find the 
truth, and with unfettered wills pursue it and reflect it in their 

Of course, there are more ways than one to win a law suit. Don 
Witherspoon, a prominent lawyer of Murphy, tells this story: He 
was appearing in some cases in Clay County. On Saturday before 
the Court convened he went up to Hayesville to confer with his 
clients. He met one on the street, and asked him if his case would 
be ready for trial the next week. His client replied: "Well, I am 
not quite ready yet, but I will be. I've had all my witnesses sub- 
poenaed, and I've talked with all the jurors but two!" 

There are two very important truths that should always be re- 
membered in connection with the trial of causes. First, the ideal 
lawyer will always depend on his own preparation and not upon the 
assumption that his adversary is unprepared; and second, he will 
never assume that the Court will know all about the law of the 
case. It is true that we have a maxim coming down to us from the 
Roman law to the effect that "all men are presumed to know the 
law;" but since I have been on the Bench I have become convinced 
that this maxim was never intended to be applied to Judges. If it 

130 Random Thoughts and the 

applies to me it is what the law designates a "violent presumption". 
And let me say here that I have seen more cases lost by the un- 
necessary and the unwise cross-examination of witnesses than by all 
other causes combined. Many lawyers seem to think that it is im- 
perative that they shall ask at least as many questions on cross- 
examination as the opposing counsel ask on the direct. The wise 
lawyer fears a cross-examination. If the witness is intelligent the 
cross-examination serves but to give him the opportunity to rein- 
force and make stronger his previous testimony. Sometimes a smart 
witness will so completely "turn the tables" on the lawyer that the 
jury will feel inclined to decide in favor of the witness, though the 
weight of the evidence may be the other way. 

One of our Solicitors was trying a negro for assaulting another 
with a rock. He forgot to prove by the prosecuting witness the size 
and weight of the rock. When the defendant went on the stand the 
Solicitor sought to prove that fact by him. The Solicitor asked 
him: "Jim, how big was that rock you hit this negro with?" Jim 
replied: "Well, suh, I don't know suh." "Well, was it as big as my 
fist?" Jim replied: "Yassah, it was bigger dan dat." The Solicitor 
then inquired: "Well, was it as big as both of my fists?" The 
witness answered: "Yassah, it was bigger dan dat." Then the 
Solicitor next asked: "Was it as big as my head?" The defendant 
at once replied: "Yassah, I 'spec' it was dat big, but 'twant dat 
thick do'." 

Frank Ray, who was for more than a generation a leading lawyer 
of Macon County, and who served about forty years in the Leg- 
islature, was defending a man for a serious misdemeanor. The 
place was reached in the trial when it became very essential that the 
defendant's character be proved good, if possible. His client told 
Mr. Ray that old man Aleck Munday, a prominent citizen of the 
Aquone section, was in the Court-room, and Mr. Ray called Mr. 
Munday to the witness stand without first asking him what he 
would say. Mr. Ray asked him: "Do you know the general char- 
acter of this defendant?" Mr. Munday replied that he did know it. 
"What is it?" Mr. Ray inquired. "It is mighty bad", Mr. Munday 
replied. Then Mr. Ray told the witness that he thought he must 
have misunderstood him. He then said to the witness: "The ques- 
tion I asked was, is the character of the defendant good or bad?" 
"And I said it was bad", Mr. Munday repeated. "Why do you say 

Musings of a Mountaineer 131 

his character is bad?" Mr. Ray demanded to know. Mr. Munday 
answered: "I say it is bad, because he makes a sorry grade of liquor 
and sells it high!" 

Our own Supreme Court, both in ancient and modern times, has 
reversed itself in numerous cases; and even the great Supreme 
Court of the United States within recent years, in two separate 
cases, involving great, fundamental, constitutional questions, has 
completely reversed itself, declaring that the decisions in the cases 
reversed did not constitute the law of the land. 

Sometimes our Supreme Court reverses my decisions, and I be- 
lieve I have found their reason for so doing. Of course, usually, 
the trial Judge has to make his decisions during the progress of 
the trial; but when I have time to study a case, I try to follow the 
procedure which Chief Justice Bleckley of Georgia says he followed 
throughout his long service on the Bench. First, I consider; second, 
I reconsider my consideration; third, I revise my reconsideration; 
and fourth, I scrutinize my revision. When I reach this last stage 
in the procedure, I decide accordingly, confident, after I have gone 
to all this trouble that I have reached a correct conclusion. Then 
when the Supreme Court reverses me I feel that it is because I 
failed to revise my scrutiny! 

The late Ben Posey of Cherokee County, was a noted lawyer of 
the mountains. He was the greatest criminal lawyer and one of the 
wittiest men I have ever known. After obtaining his license he did 
not attend a session of the Supreme Court until thirty years later 
he argued a case there and lost it. The next term he was there on 
an appeal in some case that had been nonsuited in the Court below 
on the ground that the evidence was not sufficient to establish the 
contract sued on. When Brother Posey arose to argue his case he 
read from Clark on Contracts, one of the Horn-Book Series, the 
definition of a contract, the definition of consideration, mutual 
assent, and so on, and finally Chief Justice Clark said: "Brother 
Posey, it is not necessary for you to read to us these elementary 
definitions; you ought to assume that this Court knows some law;" 
and Mr. Posey instantly replied: "Well, at the last Term I argued 
a case on that assumption before you fellers and I lost my case, 
too." When Marshall Bell, of Murphy, was a young lawyer, he was 
employed by a man to take the necessary steps to remove clouds 
from certain of his titles. Upon investigation Mr. Bell found that 
one tract within his client's boundary had been conveyed for a 

132 Random Thoughts and the 

church site by an old lady by the name of S. D. Anderson (Book 
-8-33, page 354), and the deed conveying the land was made from 
iier to the Almighty. Mr. Bell was young and inexperienced at 
that time, and he was very much at sea as to how he could obtain 
service in his action to remove this particular cloud, and so he 
sought advice from Mr. Posey as to the procedure he should fol- 
low. Said Mr. Posey: "Why that is easy. Have the Clerk issue a 
summons, making your client the plaintiff and the grantee in the 
deed the defendant. Then take your summons to the Sheriff and 
have him make the return: * After due and diligent search, the 
defendant cannot be found in Cherokee County/ and then serve 
your summons by publication!" 

The ideal lawyer is always honest with the Court, and it is im- 
perative that he should be so, because the Judge must depend 
upon the lawyer for the information upon which he acts, and 
therefore the ideal lawyer will never intentionally deceive the 
Court, either by false testimony, or the unfair citation of authori- 
ties which have no real bearing upon the question to be decided, 
nor by arguments which he knows to be unsound; and if he suc- 
ceeds in his deception he not only debases his own mind, but 
pollutes the very fountain head of justice itself. 

The ideal lawyer, whether in the Court of a Justice of the Peace, 
or in the Nation's highest tribunal is one who makes the greatest 
show of good faith in behalf of himself and client; who never 
advocates a proposition which he believes to be unsound; who 
never undertakes to maintain or defend a position that he knows 
to be untenable, and who never seeks to induce the Court to render 
a false or erroneous judgment. If it is wrong for a plaintiff to try 
to collect a fraudulent claim, it is wrong for a defendant to present 
a spurious defense; if it is wrong for the parties themselves to 
seek to defraud each other and resort to the Court for that 
purpose it is equally wrong for a lawyer to aid either of them in 
such attempt. 

After continuous service on the Bench for more than eight years; 
after presiding in the Courts of fifty Counties in the State, and in 
many of them on numerous occasions; and after having more than 
a thousand lawyers to appear before me in these Courts, I can 
truthfully say that I have been deceived by but two lawyers. In 
one instance I think it was intentional and deliberate, and in the 
other case I prefer to believe that the deception was due to the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 133 

inadvertence and misunderstanding of the lawyer involved. What 
higher compliment than this could I pay to the nine hundred and 
ninety-nine who did not deceive? What higher tribute could be 
paid to intellectual honesty? 

The ideal lawyer is always honest with his opponent. This does 
not mean that he should disclose to him the sources of his strength; 
it does not mean that he should bedeck his path with roses; but it 
does mean that he must be courteous and respectful, for courtesy 
is the essence of the Golden Rule — the hand-maiden of Love; it 
does mean that "his word must be as good as his bond"; for this 
begets confidence; and it does mean that he ought not to regard 
a lawsuit as a dog-fight governed by no rules which either party 
is bound to respect; for no kind of combat between civilized persons 
is without some rules which neither party can transgress without 
disgrace; and a lawsuit is but a legal battle; but it is a battle for 
justice, and whoever takes part in it should do so because he loves 
justice and is willing to see justice go to whom justice is due. 

The ideal lawyer recognizes no mistress but the truth, and at her 
shrine he must ever worship with sincere and unswerving devotion. 
He will recognize that the highest aim of every legal contest is the 
ascertainment and establishment of the truth in exact accordance 
with the facts and the law of the case; that somewhere within the 
facts of every case the truth abides, and that wherever truth abides, 
there justice, robed in her garb of law, tips the scales. So truth is 
the idol before which the ideal lawyer must devotedly kneel. 

Many years ago I read that peculiar romance to which its author 
H. Rider Haggard had given the still stranger name of "She". 
Those of you who may have read this story will remember the 
eloquent and beautiful word picture of the ruins of the ancient 
city of Kor or Thor, I believe it was; but you will recall especially 
the indescribably beautiful pen-picture of the crumbling Temple 
of Truth. Within the Court stood a statue of the Goddess of Truth 
whose worshippers had once filled that waste with their hurrying 
foot-steps, and whose voices had once echoed through that silence 
with the sounds of devotion. Upon a pedestal stood a magnificent 
marble globe, and upon that globe was poised a sculptor's dream of 
womanly beauty. There it stood, sublime in its solitude, divine amid 
the desolation surrounding it, its hands uplifted in supplication and 
a veil over its face hiding its features from the gaze of men; and 
thus it had stood for ages — Truth beseeching the world to lift her 

134 Random Thoughts and the 

veil. In that symbol I see a profound lesson that may be of value 
to all of us. The ruins of the desolated city may lie in broken and 
scattered fragments about the statue of the Goddess and the very 
Courts once peopled by her votaries may give place to the dust and 
ruin of the ages, but Truth herself is imperishable, surviving every 
mutation and every change; and though her prayer may be slighted, 
and her supplication remain unanswered, and her veil never lifted; 
though men may live and men may die until the world shall go 
back to the Night of Nothingness from which it was formed, the 
Eternal Truth will live on and on through the coming centuries to 
survive the crash of matter and the wreck of worlds. 

But my friends, no man will ever reach the goal of the ideal 
lawyer by floating with the tide or by following the course of least 
resistance. How many of us have felt the thrill of ambition's call 
and yet were unwilling to struggle upward along the steep and 
thorny path and clamber across the boulders that beset the way? 

Sometime ago I read an essay written by a nine year old boy on 
that subject of absorbing interest, "The Goose", and thus he wrote: 
"A goose is a web-footed fowl. It is composed mostly of fuss and 
feathers. But all web-footed fowls are not geese. Some geese are 
ganders. All geese, when they are first hatched, are goslings. A 
gosling is a young goose. But when a gosling grows up into a goose, 
it may be a gander. But if a gosling is born a goose it will always 
be a goose. A gander don't have much to do. He don't have to lay 
no eggs nor set. About all a gander has to do is to strut around 
and quack at a goose and go in a'swimming. And if I ever grow 
up into a goose I hope I will be a gander!" Now that boy's ambition 
was all right; but I fear he was unwilling to go through the various 
processes necessary to develop a goose into a real gander — a leader 
of his flock. 

In one of those last sublime and matchless sermons delivered by 
the Savior to his Disciples, He said to them: "Whosoever shall 
compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." Now what does that 
mean? It means when applied to the lawyer's work that he must 
give full and over-flowing measure in all he does. It means that he 
must burn the midnight oil. It means that he must work while his 
client sleeps. It means that in the discharge of all professional 
obligations he must give all of the very best there is in him. Ah, yes, 
you may in a slip-shod, slovenly way write a deed filled with mis- 
spelled words and inapt expressions, and technically, it may be 

Musings of a Mountaineer 135 

sufficient to pass the title to your client's home. You may prepare 
a complaint that will be a bad statement of a good cause of action, 
and jumble together in confused array a mass of allegations to 
which a demurrer may possibly not be sustained. You may make 
a casual and careless preparation for the trial of your case and try 
it in an unlawyer-like and haphazard way, and sometimes win; 
but you will never feel conscientious pride in duty thus discharged. 
And I tell you that whether it be in the drafting of a deed or 
contract or pleading; whether it be in the preparation for the trial 
or the trial of the case itself, no man will ever be the ideal lawyer 
until in the discharge of every duty he travels that second, that 
last, undemanded mile. 

And finally, my friends, the ideal lawyer is a religious man. I 
do not mean, necessarily, a conventional, or orthodox, or ceremonial 
religion. By religion in this connection, I mean a sincere conscious- 
ness of an obligation to the management of the Universe which 
transcends all other ties; a belief that no man belongs entirely to 
himself, or has the right to do as he pleases with himself, but that 
conscious life is given as a sacred trust to be discharged for the 
benefit of each and the betterment of all. I mean that spirit of 
religion which regards birth and life as a call to arms in the Divine 
service, from which the faithful soldier will never be mustered out. 
No talent, however brilliant, no learning or skill, however great, 
will ever make a righteous lawyer, and only that religion will do it 
which places right above all other motives; that religion which 
impels us to do right for the sake of right and because it is right 
to do right. And it is this thought that inspires the upward glance, 
unscales the eye of faith, produces that inflexible courage which 
remains undaunted under the most trying ordeals and sees beyond 
the mists and clouds of doubt and chance the lustrous image of 
the everlasting truth and the final triumph of the eternal right. 

My friends, we have here the highest type of freedom yet con- 
ceived by man and it depends for its existence upon the powerful 
arm of an organized government, protecting the weak against the 
strong, the innocent against the vicious, the simple against the 
crafty, and affording equal opportunities to all. Such a government 
must be the creature of law and depend for its existence and ad- 
ministration upon a competent and incorruptible Bench selected 
from, assisted, and sustained by a learned, progressive and patriotic 
Bar. Our Constitution is the stay that holds the Nation's parts in 

136 Random Thoughts and the 

place. Who would protect it if the lawyers desert it? An honest, 
learned and patriotic Judge must guard our liberties in every Court. 
Unless the Bar furnishes such, where can that Judge be found? 

The ideal lawyer is a minister of the law, the instrument and 
guardian of justice. Mr. President, I am proud that I belong to a 
profession that is glorious in history. I rejoice that I have been 
permitted to spend the best years of my life in the study of a 
science in the adornment of which Erskine and Curran, Mansfield 
and Hale, Marshall and Story, Webster, Clay, Henry, Prentiss, 
Taft, Davis, Hughes, and a host of others of equal fame spent 
their lives. 

It is true that the legal profession has had much to bear in the 
hostile criticism provoked by an unworthy class who inhabit the 
vestibules of her temple and lure to their meshes the unwary pil- 
grims who seek her shrine for the enforcement of their rights and 
the redress of their grievances. The artful trickery of ignoble 
minds has been attributed by some as an attribute of the profession 
of the law and its lower walks; and the pestilential brood that 
swarms around the base of the pedestal of honorable fame has to 
the casual observer sanctioned such a view. But this is all unjust. 
I believe that there is an atmosphere near the sun in which the 
spirits of true and honorable lawyers dwell. They have been the 
forerunners of legal liberty; they have been the hand-maidens of 
freedom in every age and in every clime. 

In every struggle for human liberty the names of prominent 
lawyers appear at the top of the roll of honor. Their ashes repose 
in the most sacred shrines that a grateful people have erected to 
their honored dead. In those sublime moments when occasions have 
called for martyrs to the cause of truth and justice, they have ever 
responded, willing to sacrifice their lives for the benefit of the race. 
In the long line of Presidents of this Republic, that grand galaxy 
of statesmen, the most splendid aggregation of rulers that the earth 
has ever had, among the purest, wisest and most noble were those 
taken from the legal profession. Lawyers have been the fathers of 
the republic, its protectors and preservers, its heroes and martyrs, 
who, in the loftiest and most perilous positions of sacred trust, have 
won by fidelity, courage, and unselfishness a universal regard. And 
not only on the highest peaks of human endeavor, before the eyes 
of the multitude, surrounded by the plaudits of the world, has the 
lawyer shone with excelling lustre. Go into the damp, dismal jails 

Musings of a Mountaineer 137 

where the poor, friendless, and despised criminal shivers in the 
shadow of the gallows, or the electric chair, or the gas chamber, 
with an army of foes, who, frenzied with malice at the atrocity of 
the charge against him, demand his blood. It is the lawyer who 
lays aside his personal interests, stifles his own desires and imperils 
his reputation to espouse the cause of the unfortunate. Valiantly 
and earnestly he fights for what he considers the rights of the 
prisoner, and if he fights in vain he follows his client even to the 
place of execution and is the last on earth to bid him a sad goodbye. 

Let me close with a tribute to the Ideal Lawyer written by G. C. 
Bonney, and which gives a complete picture painted with the words 
more beautiful than I can possible use: 

"A truly great lawyer is one of the highest products of civiliza- 

He is the master of the science of human experience. 

He sells his clients the result of that experience, and is thus the 
merchant of wisdom. 

The labors of many generations of legislators and Judges enrich 
his stores. 

His learning is sufficient to enable him to realize the comparative 
littleness of all human achievements. 

He has outlived the ambition of display before Courts and juries. 

He loves justice, law and peace. 

He has learned to bear criticism without irritation, censure with- 
out anger, and calumny without retaliation. 

He has learned how surely all schemes of evil bring disaster to 
those who support them, and that the granite shaft of a noble 
reputation cannot be destroyed by the poisoned breath of slander. 

A great lawyer will not do a mean thing for money. 

He hates vice, and delights to stand forth a conquering champion 
of virtue. 

The good opinions of the just are precious to his esteem, but 
neither the love of friends nor the fear of foes can swerve him from 
the path of duty. 

He esteems his office as counsellor as higher than political place 
or scholastic distinction. 

He detests unnecessary litigation, and delights in averting danger 
and restoring peace by wise counsel and skilfull plans. 

The good works of the counsel room are sweeter to him than 
the glories of the forum. 

138 Random Thoughts and the 

He proves that honesty is the best policy, and that peace pays 
both lawyer and client better than controversy. 

In the legal contest he will give his client the benefit of the best 
presentation of whatever points of fact or law may be in his power, 
but he will neither pervert the law nor falsify the facts to defeat 
an adversary. 

The motto of his battle-flag is: Fidelity to the law and facts — 
' Semper Fidelis.' 

If, coupled with fidelity to this spirit, the lawyer is a consistent 
student of the constantly changing stage-setting of the law, he 
cannot go far wrong." 

My friends, the law itself is not a system of mercy on the one 
hand or of vengeance on the other. It is a system rather, which 
seeks to administer equal and exact justice and equal and exact 
justice constitutes a pair of scales which weighs out deserts rather 
than desires. In its administration no man is so rich or strong or 
powerful as to be beyond its avenging arm, while its mission as the 
chosen apostle of freedom has always been to succor the weak, the 
humble and the poor and to minister in the spirit of the great 
Master to those and their kind whom He blessed upon the Mount 
of Olives. It is to me the Star which hovered over the cradle of 
liberty in its infancy, the Spirit which upheld and sustained it 
when tempted in the Wilderness and the Power which will roll 
away the stone from its tomb if it shall ever again be betrayed and 
crucified and put to death. 

Mr. President, the great growth and prosperity of our country 
within the last generation, but especially the chaotic condition 
under which it has labored in recent years, have brought forth 
problems fraught with greater difficulties and greater temptations 
than in any other period in our National history. Never was there 
greater need for character, foresight and unwavering zeal in sup- 
porting the ideals of our country. Never were the Bench and the 
Bar harnessed with greater responsibilities; and more than on 
armies; more than on armaments, forts and battleships, our country 
now depends upon the Bar. Then let me appeal to my brethren of 
the Bar everywhere that we raise high the standard of professional 
honor. Let us resist to the uttermost the efforts of those who seek 
to haul it down. Let us force to the rear those who seek to debase 
it, and strive for the attainment of justice as for a pearl beyond 

Musings of a Mountaineer 139 

price. By doing this we will serve our country best, our children 
and ourselves, and pay in part, at least, the debt we owe to Provi- 
dence for this priceless inheritance of liberty and of law. 

If we shall be true to the ideals of our profession, if we shall 
not falter from the right, but ever for justice raise our voices, the 
tree of liberty which our fathers have planted will never lose its 
verdure, but, nourished by the superior wisdom of coming gen- 
erations will spread its branches farther and wider until all the 
nations of the earth shall find shelter beneath its ample boughs, 
and the tide of freedom, originating here shall never ebb, but 
pushing onward with ever increasing force, shall at last sing its 
murmuring anthem to the inhabitants of the remotest shores. 

I close my remarks in the language of our great President, ut- 
tered by him on Monday of this week, September 16th, 1940, on the 
occasion of the signing of the "Conscription Bill": "May we all 
renew within our hearts that conception of liberty and that way 
of life which we have all inherited. May we all strengthen our 
resolve to hold high the torch of freedom in this darkening world 
so that our children and their children may not be robbed of their 
rightful inheritance." 



weighed in the balances and art found wanting. 
Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes 
and Persians. 

Daniel, 5: 25, 27, 28. 

The following speech was delivered in substance in upwards of 
thirty Counties in the campaign of 1932. 
Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I am not a candidate for any office. I am not asking any man 
or woman to vote for me; but at no time during the last thirty 
years have I ever turned a deaf ear to any appeal my party has 
made to me whenever and wherever it was thought that I might 
serve its cause. In each campaign, at my own expense, and at the 
sacrifice of my own time and business, to the uttermost of my 
humble power I have upheld the banner of the Democratic Party; 
and throughout whatever of life and health shall be spared to me in 
the future, I shall continue to fight the battles of the Democratic 
Party because I believe that the perpetuation of the institutions 
and ideals of my country depend upon the application of demo- 
cratic principles and democratic policies in Government. 

I have always been a democrat. I am a democrat now, and I 
shall continue to be a democrat because the Democratic Party stands 
now, as it has always stood, and as it will continue to stand, for 
liberty, equality, and fraternity, for all classes and conditions of 

As the friend of liberty the Democratic Party stands for the full 
freedom of each and every man, bounded only by the equal freedom 
of every other man. As the friend of equality, it stands for the 
equal right of each individual, to the use and enjoyment of all 
natural opportunities; and the equal right of all men to all the 
essentials of happy and prosperous lives. As the friend of fraternity, 
it stands for that sympathy that links together all those who strug- 


gle together in a common cause; that would live and let live; that 
would help as well as be helped; and that in seeking the good of all 
the highest good of each is found. 

These are the ideals of the Democratic Party. These are the 
ideals for which, in season and out of season, in victory and de- 
feat, in prosperity and adversity, the Democratic Party has stead- 
fastly, consistently, and persistently fought from the foundation 
of our Government to the present hour. And I believe that in the 
coming election, this consistency and persistency will be rewarded 
with victory. 

Over in Athens, Tennessee, I was introduced to a young man 
from Monroe County. Monroe County had always been almost 
solidly republican. It had been the life-long ambition of this young 
man to represent Monroe County in the Tennessee Legislature; 
and he contested for the Republican nomination eight consecutive 
times, but each time he was defeated. Following eight successive 
defeats, he became so disheartened and despondent, that he re- 
solved to commit suicide — in four different ways all at the same 
time! So he went to the hardware store and bought fifteen feet of 
cotton rope. Next he bought a new pistol with a full round of 
loaded shells. He then bought a gallon can full of kerosene oil and 
a box of matches; and finally he bought a pint bottle of "Rough- 
on-Rats" in liquid form. Thus equipped he went down to the river- 
side and rented a boat and got into it. He then tied one end of the 
rope around his neck, and the other end to an overhanging limb. 
He then drank the entire pint of "Rough-on-Rats", saturated his 
clothing with the gallon of kerosene oil, struck a match and set his 
clothing on fire, and then pressed the muzzle of the pistol to his 
temple and pulled the trigger! But just as he pulled the trigger the 
boat lurched. This caused the bullet to miss his head, but it struck 
the rope and cut it in two. The severing of the rope caused the 
boat to turn over; and when the boat turned over the man fell out 
into the river; when he went under the water the fire was extin- 
guished; and while he was under the water he got strangled, and 
that caused him to "throw up" the "Rough-on-Rats", and so he 
swam out, and went back home and ran for the Legislature on the 
democratic ticket, and was overwhelmingly elected! So I am going 
over the State on my own expenses appealing to people to support 
the democratic ticket because I believe that it is best for you and 

142 Random Thoughts and the 

yours and for me and mine that the Governments of our State and 
Nation be administered by the Democratic Party. 

When we contrast the difference in conditions that existed under 
the eight years of the Democratic Party under Woodrow Wilson 
with the conditions that exist today, as the result of twelve years of 
Republican rule, it is difficult for a Democrat to understand how 
any one in the forthcoming election can support the Republican 

When the Democratic Party came into power in 1913, there was 
unrest, discontent, unemployment and universal hard times; but 
within a year after Wilson's administration came into power con- 
ditions changed. Business revived; capital sought and found safe 
and profitable investment; industries of every kind sprang into 
existence in every community in the land; labor earned and received 
a just reward; for the first time in history the farmer received a 
fair price for his products, and on every hand the music of his 
happy harvest song mingled with the jingle of gold in his pockets; 
the white sails of our commerce floated on every sea, while field and 
mine and factory poured their priceless treasures into the Nation's 
purse, and during those eight years we added one hundred billion 
dollars to the wealth of the United States; and everywhere hap- 
piness and contentment walked together hand in hand. 

In the meantime the World War was fought, at a cost of 
twenty-four billions of dollars, and in the administration of that 
vast sum there was not a breath of scandal nor a suggestion that 
one dollar of that money was misappropriated or misapplied, and 
when the terrific struggle was over the United States was uni- 
versally heralded and recognized as the political, the financial and 
the moral leader of the world. 

What are the conditions today, my friends, after twelve years 
of Republican rule? 

Business is stagnated; industry is paralyzed; trade is helpless in 
the grasp of monopoly; foreign credits no longer exist and our com- 
merce has been almost completely destroyed. Capital has fled to 
cover and refuses to come forth from its hiding places; and al- 
though the South has raised sufficient cotton to well-nigh clothe 
the world, fabrics mould in the market places and the song of the 
spindle is hushed; the wheels of industry no longer turn; where 
once the music of machinery in thousands of factories kept time 
with the heart-beats of happy and contented toilers, today their 

Musings of a Mountaineer 143 

empty smoke-stacks stand like sentinels guarding the still silence of 
the cheerless nights; and the darkness of poverty and misery falls 
in the shadow of the humble homes of the unemployed. 

As the result of special legislation, enacted in the interest of the 
few, favoritism and centralized power are entrenched in our citadel; 
special privilege sits enthroned in our Nation's Capitol; graft and 
greed hold high carnival in the high places of our government; the 
beneficiaries of class legislation loll and revel in luxurious splendor 
in palaces whose fluted columns point to the skies, while hunger 
and want shiver and suffer in the lowly tenements of the poor who 
neither seek nor receive special privileges from government to aid 
them in their battle for bread. 

The policy of "splendid isolation", which the last three Repub- 
lican administrations have pursued and of which they proudly 
boast, has estranged the nations that were once our friends, and 
today the United States stands alone, without a friend among the 
Nations of the earth. 

We have sufficient food raised and saved to abundantly feed 
our one hundred and twenty- two millions of people for more than 
two years, and yet well-nigh half of our people are in hunger and 
want. We have produced sufficient cotton and wool and leather to 
comfortably clothe our one hundred and twenty-two millions of 
people for more than three years, and yet half our people are shiv- 
ering because they are not properly clothed! And today the children 
of the farmers in the grain-belt, too thinly clad, are shivering over 
fires made of wheat and corn, instead of coal, while the children 
of the cotton farmers of the South, living in sight of sufficient cot- 
ton to clothe the world, are starving for bread. 

Our granaries and elevators and factories and warehouses are 
groaning under the load of an enormous surplus of agricultural 
and manufactured products, while thirteen million laboring men 
are tramping the streets of our cities in quest for work, whose 
families are living on charity, in a land so blessed with abundance 
that it is overflowing with all the things that go to make up a live- 
lihood, and which cannot be sold because consumers have nothing 
with which to pay, and our foreign trade has fallen from $9,601,- 
000,000 under Wilson's last year to less than $5,126,794,931.00 in 

My friends, all my life, from the time I was a boy, up until 
Wilson's administration, I have been fed up by the Republican 

144 Random Thoughts and the 

orators taunting me with the Cleveland panic and the Cleveland 
souphouses. Well, I admit we had a panic during Cleveland's 
administration, which he inherited from Harrison, and I likewise 
admit that we had a few souphouses; but in those days we had 
plenty of fat cattle and all sorts of vegetables and other necessary 
ingredients, and we fed the few thousands who were then in want, 
good, thick, rich, and well-seasoned beef soup that was fit for 
a King. 

How is it today? Why today, in every city in the land we have 
miles upon miles of bread lines, and thousands of places which our 
Republican leaders are pleased to call "soup-kitchens"! And instead 
of feeding the millions of unfortunates good, rich beef soup, such 
as we fed them, our Republican friends feed them a kind of pale, 
thin, gruel, made of bean soup! And I am told that the only 
seasoning they put in it is dried beef tongue, and pickled ox tails, 
and this upon the theory that when the millions of people whom 
they have impoverished drink the soup thus seasoned they will be 
in better position to make both ends meet! 

It is said that a short time before Mr. Mellon went to England 
he and Hoover were passing one of these soup kitchens and two 
big double-fisted men were drinking this soup from bowls, and as 
they turned to leave Hoover said, "Mellon, I would give anything 
in the world if I had those men's appetites." And then one of the 
soup-drinkers said to his friend: "Jim, did you hear that? Our 
homes have been foreclosed under his administration; he has taken 
our jobs from us, and now the durned old hog wants to take our 

Following Cleveland's administration I heard the Republican 
orators claim that you could sell cotton seed for more under Re- 
publican rule than you could get for both the seed and the cotton 
when the Democrats were in power; they said you could sell the 
bark off a tree for more money under Republican rule than you 
could obtain for the whole tree under Democratic administration; 
they said you could get more for the hide of a cow when the 
Republicans were in power than you could sell the whole cow for 
under Democratic rule. 

But those claims were hushed during Wilson's administration, 
because during those years of unparalleled prosperity, when every 
one had a job and plenty of money in his pocket, lumber and forest 
products brought the highest prices ever known; the price of corn 

Musings of a Mountaineer 145 

and wheat floated around above the tree- tops; the price of cattle 
and sheep soared above the mountain tops; "Queen Cotton" swung 
corners with the man in the moon, while the price of labor was so 
high that it shouted, "Glory halleluiah!" and sang songs with 
angels in the far-off milky way! 

How is it today after twelve years of Republican rule? The echo 
of the axe in the forest and the song of the sawmill are no longer 
heard. Cotton and corn and wheat cannot be sold for the actual 
cost of production; the cattle on our ten thousand hills cannot be 
sold for what it costs to raise them; while the price of mutton and 
wool is so low that there is not a Republican leader in all this land 
who can stand up and look a sheep in the face! 

During the entire eight years of Wilson's administration there 
were only 389 bank failures, State and National, in the United 
States, while during the last three Republican administrations there 
have been more than 10,000 bank failures, 8,000 of which have 
occurred under Hoover's administration up to the present time. 

Why, my friends, so accustomed has the country become to bank 
failures under Republican rule that while they were holding their 
Convention in Chicago last June, forty- two banks failed in that 
City before the Republican delegates could get out of town; and 
when we had our Convention there some ten days later, if you had 
had your pockets full of liberty bonds you could not have raised 
enough cash with which to pay your hotel bill! 

And yet, Hoover is the gentleman who promised us four years 
ago that if he were elected he would abolish poverty and banish 
the poor hourses from this country; that he would put a car in every 
garage, and two chickens in every pot; that all of us would have 
a full dinner pail, and that everybody would be put in the silk 
stocking class. 

But instead of this, since the Republicans came into power in 
1921, farm values have depreciated from seventy-nine billion to 
thirty- two billion dollars; farm incomes have dropped from sixteen 
billion to seven billion dollars; while since 1926, up to the end of 
last June, 682,850 farms have been foreclosed, and this does not 
include the countless thousands of homes that have been foreclosed 
in every town and city in the land; and thirteen million laboring 
men are unemployed, and where, Oh, where are the full dinner 
pails and the two chickens in every pot now? 

146 Random Thoughts and the 

We are all like my old family darky, who, when I asked him 
what he was going to have for Christmas dinner, replied: "Well, 
suh, iffen I had some ham, I would have ham and eggs, iffen I 
ihad some eggs." 

By the same token all of us would have a full dinner pail if we 
had the pail and something to put in it; we would have two chickens 
in a pot, if we had the chickens and the pots; but instead of 
poverty and the poor houses vanishing under Hoover's administra- 
tion, our pails and pots and contents have disappeared, while very 
few of us wear any stockings at all! 

No man can tell where Hoover stands on any question. Senator 
Carter Glass has offered a reward of #500 to any man who will find 
any statement made by Hoover on any public question that will not 
admit of more than one interpretation. He is the most two-faced 
man in the United States. He is so two-faced that when his friends 
see him on the street they can't tell whether they are meeting him 
or following him. With one of these faces, wreathed in hypocritical 
and deceptive smiles, he looks toward the farmer and laboring man 
and promises a remedy for all their ills; while with his other face 
he looks at privilege and Big Business and slyly winks. He is a past 
master of the art of carrying on both shoulders. He turns to the 
drys one shoulder on which rests a pitcher of sweet, beautiful 
water, brewed in the running brook and the rippling fountain, 
distilled in the laughing rill and the limpid cascade, sweetened with 
the sparkling dew-drops, and cooled by the hailstorm; while to the 
wets he presents his other shoulder on which rests a jug of beer from 
which the foam rises like the mists of the morning rising from the 
bosom of the lake when the sun has arisen in his resplendent glory. 
He has straddled every public question, but in this instance he has 
stretched his straddle until he stands tonight with one foot resting 
in the burning sands of the Equator, while he bathes his other foot 
in the bright effulgent light of the Aurora Borealis! He is like the 
man who was delivering a Fourth of July oration, and who became 
very patriotic and said: "My friends, we live in the greatest country 
on the face of the earth. It stretches from Maine's dark pines and 
crags of snow to where the magnolia breezes blow; it stretches from 
the Atlantic on the East to the Pacific on the West. It stretches — " 
And about that time a man about half drunk, back in the crowd, 
jumped up, threw his hat up in the air, and yelled: "Let her 

Musings of a Mountaineer 147 

stretch, durn her, let her stretch, Hurrah for the Democratic Party." 
And so with Hoover. 

He wiggles in and he wiggles out, 
And leaves the people all in doubt 
As to whether he is moist or wet or dry, 
Or favors corn or beer or rye. 

In the South he is dry, in the West he is moist, 

In the East he is dripping wet; 

He is wet to the wets 

And dry to the drys, and yet, — 

We know now that his promises of '28 
Were but a pretense and a sham, 
And like his promises about everything else 
They are not worth a damn! 

My friends, during the last twelve years we have witnessed in the 
United States the commission of a series of crimes so revolting as 
to make grand larceny sound like the announcement of a gospel 
hymn or the statement of a golden text in a Sunday School lesson. 
Thieves and boot-leggers, murderers and robbers, have sat side by 
side in the criminal Courts with chiefs of government bureaus, a 
governor of a sovereign State, a member of Congress and Cabinet 
members who have been indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced for 
criminal conspiracies and crimes against their country's laws. But I 
believe the carnival of crime is about over now. 

We are told in the Good Book that shortly after the prophet 
Daniel was introduced to Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King, 
Belshazzar, his grand-son, made a royal banquet at night in his pal- 
ace in Babylon, with his wives, his concubines, and a thousand of 
his lords and nobles. And they drank until the King became drunken 
with wine, and they sent for the sacred vessels of silver and gold 
which Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from the Temple at Jerusalem, 
and they used them in the idolatrous carousal to their own Gods, 
to the dishonor of the God of Israel. And while the revel was still 
going on in the wild abandonment of victorious debauchery, the 
fingers of a man's hand suddenly appeared over against the candle- 
stick and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the King's palace in 

148 Random Thoughts and the 

the Samaritan language the words: "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Up- 

The King saw the hand but he could not read the words nor 
interpret their meaning; and his face grew pale, his mind became 
disturbed; his body trembled with horror, and he cried aloud for 
the astrologers, and the Chaldeans, and the sooth-sayers, and prom- 
ised that the one who would read the writing and interpret its 
meaning he would clothe with scarlet, hang a chain of gold around 
his neck, and make him the third ruler in his Kingdom. But they 
could neither read the words nor tell what they meant. And then 
Daniel was sent for. Inside the palace there was splendor and 
there was darkness without. It was the night of doom, and Night's 
deep wing overshadowed the walls, towers and temples of Babylon 
and the overhanging gardens of Nebuchadnezzar. The stars peeped 
out shyly and blushed, and dropped a tear of pity upon the de- 
bauched face of the lascivious Queen of the Euphrates. The mighty 
army of Cyrus the Great, with glittering spear and shield lay em- 
battled just outside the City's walls. The Euphrates itself, with its 
mighty currents damned, was rushing around the City of Babylon, 
undermining its walls of solid brick and making ready entrance for 
the Persian Conqueror. The palace of Belshazzar was ablaze with 
light, but the sounds of revelry were suddenly hushed. The hand 
was gone, but the written words still gleamed in fiery tracery upon 
the wall. The wine still sparkled in the sacred vessels of the Lord's 
house. And there sat the cowering King upon his throne, sur- 
rounded by the bejewelled spirits of his harem, pale, tearful and 
trembling; and there, half rising from cushions of gold, and sobered 
by horror, a thousand Lords of the princely and opulent realm, 
quaked with fear. And there stood the lofty and imperious Daniel, 
glancing from the writing on the wall to the pale and fear-stricken 
face of the terrified King, with one hand pointing at him and the 
other to the writing on the wall, his voice of interpretation ringing 
like the trump of doom: "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin!" "Thou 
art weighed in the balances and art found wanting; thy kingdom is 
divided, and given to the Medes and Persians!" And that very 
night the proud Kingdom of Belshazzar ran its appointed course 
and was finished and divided and given to the Medes and Persians; 
and the King himself, too light in the unerring balances of God's 
retributive justice, was slain. And the beams of the next morning's 
sun, rising over Shinar's extensive plains glistened in the blood of 

Musings of a Mountaineer 149 

Chaldea's grandees, tinged with gold the royal banner of the con- 
quering Cyrus and hung a bright, though melancholy sheen over 
the Temple of Belus, and the walls and towers and palaces of 
Babylon, the oldest city in the world, as well as the world's oldest 
Capital, and once the proud seat of Nimrod's ambitious empire, 
were utterly destroyed. 

My friends, I believe that the corrupt and impious feast of 
Belshazzar is about over in this country now. The handwriting is 
already on the wall. And as I talk to you tonight, our matchless 
leader, imperious as Daniel, uplifted and cheered on by the vic- 
torious shouts of the embattled hosts of the Democratic Party, is 
saying to Hoover and his cohorts: "Thou art weighed in the bal- 
ances and art found wanting — thy Kingdom is divided" — No, 
there will be no division here; we propose to take it all, the Presi- 
dency, the Senate, the House, the Governors and Legislatures of 
the several States — and while we are at it we will drive the last 
vestige of republicanism from power in this country, and let the 
universal reign of Democracy begin. 

What we need in this country is a Thomas Jefferson to stand like 
Jefferson stood against the cohorts of centralized power. What we 
need is an Andrew Jackson, to stand like Jackson stood against 
the encroachment of organized and predatory wealth. What we 
need is a Woodrow Wilson, to stand like Wilson stood against 
corrupt and invisible government in Washington City. 

The Democratic Party presents to the people of this Nation, 
as its candidate for the Presidency, a man whose character and 
fitness and ability will not only meet every requirement of the most 
exacting, but it presents to them a man who has often demonstrated 
that he possesses the qualities of leadership that will enable him to 
lift our Country from the depths to which it has been forced by 
the party in power, as Moses held aloft the brazen serpent in the 
midst of the Children of Israel for the healing of a Nation. 

He does not believe with Hoover that National prosperity must 
originate with the special interests. He believes rather that when 
prosperity returns it will come through the gates of the golden har- 
vest fields; that it will come by the turning wheels and whirling 
spindles; by the open furnace doors and the flaming forges, and 
by the smoke-stacks filled with eager fire to be greeted and grasped 
by the countless sons of toil. He does believe that our laws should 
be so written that the door of equal opportunity shall stand open 

150 Random Thoughts and the 

wide to the rich and the poor and the high and the low and to 
capital and labor alike; that our laws should be such as to bring 
about a fair and equitable distribution of wealth and the fruits 
of toil, so that all who work and practice thrift may lay aside a 
competence for the rainy day; so that when the shadows of life's 
fleeting day are falling to the eastward and the hush of evening 
steals upon the world, the old, the infirm, and those worn out with 
toil, may stop and rest, and have no need to grope through the 
twilight in quest of a livelihood they should have been able to 
harvest and garner in the noon- tide of life. 

In the day of the Nation's weakness he stands as the incarnation 
of strength. For doubt he substitutes faith. For hesitancy he 
promises the leadership of constructive action. Against cowardice 
he marshals courage. His candor defeats hypocrisy. His optimism 
disarms despair; and amid the clouds of gloom which hang over 
our Country like a pall he points our people to the trembling 
Star of Hope. He is as plain and democratic as Thomas Jefferson; 
as fearless and courageous as Andrew Jackson; as strong and 
steadfast in his convictions as Grover Cleveland; as great a master 
of the science and practice of Government as Woodrow Wilson; 
as eloquent and sincere as William Jennings Bryan — and his name 
is Franklin D. Roosevelt, the next President of the United States. 

My friends, I sat in the great National Democratic Convention 
at Chicago, and with the splendid men and women composing 
the delegations from more than forty States, it was my proud 
privilege to participate in the nomination of this great man for the 
Presidency. And when the announcement was made that he had 
been nominated by more than three-fourths of the Convention's 
votes, I saw thirty thousand loyal and enthusiastic Democrats hail 
him as the Man of the Hour, while twenty million more, Demo- 
crats and Progressives and forward-thinking people of other par- 
ties, acclaimed him as the uncrowned chieftain of the democratic 
hosts, the bitterest foe of the forces of privilege and reaction, the 
best friend of the common people, the hope of the "forgotten 

Ladies and Gentlemen, in all ages of the world two principles 
have contended for the mastery in government. The great body of 
the people who work with their own hands through all the weary 
days of the year, and whose earnings constitute the wealth of na- 
tions, occupy one position; while the owners of idle capital, the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 151 

favorites of fortune and special legislation, who, like the lilies, toil 
not, and yet surpass Kings in the splendor of their habits and 
luxuries, occupy the other position, and invoke the powers of gov- 
ernment to make no change — to continue forever the enchantments 
of their feast for which others pay. 

The principle of man's equality is as old as history, but through 
the slow-moving centuries it has manifested itself but feebly. Its 
radiance glinted for a moment on the spears of Alexander's soldiers 
in the burning desert, when their god-like King disdainfully cast 
upon the sand the last cup of water which might have preserved 
his own life, when there was not enough for every man. Its light 
blazed for a while in Southern Europe when Demosthenes with 
matchless eloquence filled the world with the majestic music of the 
Grecian tongue; but Athens with her democracy and aristocracy, 
and Sparta torn by rival parties, engaged in perpetual struggle, 
and soon the light of liberty faded away in the sky and Grecian 
glory went down in the night of gloom and ages of darkness fol- 
lowed. It fluttered with awful prophecy in Caesar's victorious ban- 
ners on the fateful plains of Pharsalia, when the remnants of his 
diminished legions, drawn from the common people, marshalled 
forth to shatter Pompey's mighty host, representing the wealth, the 
aristocracy and the reactionary power of Rome. But it sank into 
midnight darkness amid the bloody orgies of Nero's reign, and 
through the turbulent ages that followed it flickered but dimly. 
In Shakespeare's dramas it found matchless tongues to sing of the 
cruel and bloody deeds of heartless monarchs. It hallowed the lips 
and inspired the genius of Burke, of Chatham, and of Curran, 
and haloed the immortal Cromwell's head, and shone with warning 
above the death warrant of Charles the First. But the great Crom- 
well could not bequeath his spirit to those who followed him, and 
he passed from the earth as the first of an imperial dynasty, with 
every vestige of civil and religious toleration destroyed, and every 
evidence of free government swept from the British Empire. In 
Spain, ancient battle-ground of the Romans and Carthaginians, 
the relic of the cruel Inquisition, its light sputtered for a few short 
weeks, when as the result of the fiery eloquence of Emilio Castelar, 
he became the president of the short-lived Spanish Republic. It 
shone like a meteor on Hungary's fertile plains during the time 
that Louis Kossuth, the great Magyar chief and greatest orator of 
all time, campaigned the nations of the earth for sympathy for 

152 Random Thoughts and the 

his down-trodden country, and melted the world to tears with the 
pathos of his appeal. Through the weary cycle of the centuries 
democracy had dwelt for the most part in the heart of Man, but 
it suddenly leapt to his brain and became vital with method and 
force, when in July, 1776, Jefferson wrote into the Declaration of 
Independence the words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: 
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their 
creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, 
liberty and the pursuit of happiness." As the result of that declar- 
ation the American Republic arose, beautiful as the dream of Plato, 
magnificent as the Temple of the Gods. And for the first seventy- 
five years of its history, democracy ruled it, and formulated its 
principles and directed its destiny; but my friends, for the last 
twelve years the spirit of democracy had slept and the forces of 
reaction had ruled. And the time had come for a new declaration 
— for a new mile-stone to be planted in the pathway of history, 
when the Democratic Party met in Chicago to adopt its platform 
and name its candidates, in July, 1932. It was indeed an epoch- 
making day. It was a day fraught with the portent of mighty 
events. Our country had come to the parting of the ways. The time 
had come when if our civilization and our institutions were to 
survive a complete change must be made in the policies which our 
country had pursued for the past dozen years. The hour of destiny 
had struck and the hour and the man had met. At his own request 
the Convention remained in session for a night and day longer, 
and then, like the proud eagle, King of birds, which with unclouded 
eye flies through heaven's unfathomable depths and braves the fury 
of the Western hurricane and bathes his plumes in the thunder's 
home, and then furls his wide-stretched wings at nightfall to rest 
upon his mountain crag, the democratic nominee for the Presidency 
boarded an air-ship, and, rising like the thunder-bearer of Jove 
when he mounts on strong and untiring wing to sport in fearless 
majesty above the troubled deep, or reascending on high to play 
undaunted among the lightnings of heaven or soar toward the sun, 
and flew from Albany to Chicago, and standing there upon the 
platform of that great City's magnificent stadium, amid the 
plaudits and acclamations of an admiring multitude, he accepted 
at the hands of the delegates who conferred it the standard of the 
Democratic Party. 

Yes, our candidate commenced his campaign in the sky; and he 

Musings of a Mountaineer 153 

has been flying ever since; and he will fly on and on until the night 
of November the 8th, when his ship will light in the front yard 
of the White House of our Nation's Capital. 

Now, can Hoover fly? No, he can't fly. He can't even run. Up 
to the present time he has not traveled faster than a walk. He 
could hardly get his old bunged up ship to take off. And finally 
when he did get the old thing started, 

"He heaved and sot and sot and heaved, 
And high his rudder flung; 
And every time he heaved and sot 
A mighty leak he sprung. 

He couldn't tell what the trouble was 
Or when it could be remedied, or how; 
And while he pondered what to do 
The people said: 'It won't be long now'!" 

No, it won't be long now, for on the fourth day of March we 
are going to drive him out of the Nation's White House, and 
send him back to China, or Borneo, or Africa, or wherever it was 
that he spent most of his life, and where, it is a thousand pities 
for the American people, that he didn't stay while he was there. 

Now, my friends, when on the night of November the 8th the 
Spirit which guides the destiny of Nations shall from the Watch- 
Tower of this Republic ring out the challenge, "Watchman, what 
of the Night?" What shall our answer be? Shall it not be that 
North Carolina has been redeemed for the National Democratic 
ticket by 250,000 majority? 

And there is Ehringhaus, — God bless him — that matchless leader 
of the Democracy of the East, that princely, magnificent man, 
whose name, I confidently believe, when the historian of the future 
shall come to write the history of this old Commonwealth, will 
appear beside the names of the immortal Vance and the peerless 
Aycock, and all that great galaxy of brilliant men whose lives 
have made North Carolina glorious and great — surely everybody 
will be for him. 

And there is Bob Reynolds, the intrepid, invincible leader of the 
Mountain Democracy; what chance has Jake Newell against a man 
who can win a nomination over the indomitable Morrison by more 

154 Random Thoughts and the 

than 107,000 majority? Why, Jake Newell has no more chance 
to beat Bob Reynolds than a celluloid dog would have to overtake 
an asbestos cat in the dismal and gloomy regions of the lost! 

I submit that there is no reason why every Democrat in the 
coming election should not give his loyal and enthusiastic support 
to every candidate on the Demcoratic ticket from President all 
the way down the line. There may have been times in the past 
when they would have been justified, but not now. Four years 
ago many of our good Democrats did not like the Democratic 
candidate for President on account of his position on the prohibi- 
tion question. Hoover had been accused of being in favor of pro- 
hibition, and he never did deny it; and yet it is known of all men 
that under his administration we have had more liquor and higher 
liquor and meaner liquor than at any other time in our Nation's 
history! And then there were many of our good, honest Democrats 
who did not like the Democratic candidate on account of his 
religion. And yet, although I have engaged in every political cam- 
paign that has been waged in this State for the past thirty years, 
I would be willing to swear that Al Smith was the only candidate 
that I ever knew to be nominated on any ticket by any party who 
was ever accused of having any religion at all! But let that be as it 
may, everybody's got religion now, and with the light of triumph 
on our faces and a song of victory in our hearts we are marching 
in solid phalanx to the glorious day when republicanism and 
Hooverism will be driven from the high places of our government 
for all time to come. Then let there be no further strife in the 
democratic household. In union there is strength and in disunion 
there is always disaster. So loyalty must be our watch word in this 

"American Democracy, round which our hearts entwine, 
Our heritage from Jefferson whose principles divine, 
Have shaped the Nation's destiny, shall steer our course 

And lead us on unerringly into sublimer light. 

"American Democracy, to which the Nation now 
Looks for measures of relief to ease her anxious brow, 
Should never more be handicapped by inharmonious strife, 
For peace within the party ranks means power to the life. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 155 

"American Democracy — by greed and graft despised — 
Could settle all the grievances that Republicanism has de- 
If those in high authority would be as true and just 
As Jefferson and Wilson were to their every trust. 

"American Democracy — to her hope lifts its hat — 
May no man who presumes to call himself a democrat, 
E'er put his personal desires — no matter what befall — 
Above democracy's demands, above his party's call." 

From every section of this great country, from where she pillows 
her lovely head upon the Canadian border to where she bathes 
her shapely feet in the rolling surfs of the Gulf of Mexico, and 
from shore to shore of our enclosing seas, Republicans and Pro- 
gressives and Independents by the millions are flocking to the 
standard of the Democratic Party. And I expect if they were asked 
to say why they are turning to the Democratic Party in this crisis, 
their answer would be substantially the same as the reasons given 
by the young man for returning home after he had gone out West 
to make his fortune and failed. He had married over the opposition 
of the girl's father and he had lived with the old man for about 
five years. He was always talking about going West to make a 
fortune by farming. Finally the old man gave him five hundred 
dollars, a good team of mules and a new wagon and told him to go. 
He went first to Colorado and rented a big farm and put out a big 
crop, but about the time his corn commenced to tassel something 
got wrong with the irrigation and his corn all died and he didn't 
make a thing. He then went to Kansas and rented another farm 
and put out a big crop; but about the time his corn commenced 
to silk one of these hot Kansas winds came along and burned up 
his corn and he didn't make a thing. His money was now gone and 
he told his wife he saw but one thing to do and that was to go 
back and live with her daddy like they used to do. And so they 
loaded up and started back. When he got back near his old home, 
where people knew him, of course everybody asked him his reason 
for coming back. He answered this question until finally he became 
disgusted, and he got down in the corner of the fence, picked some 
ripe poke-berries and made some red ink and wrote across his 

156 Random Thoughts and the 

wagon sheet his reasons for coming back, and these were his 


"Colorado irrigation, 
Kansas winds and conflagration, 
Bill Taft's administration, 
Teddy Roosevelt's vociferation, 
Harding's corruption and vacillation, 
Coolidge's timidity in conversation, 
High tariff and taxation, 
Hoover's panic and starvation, 
Hell-fire and damnation, 
Bring me back to my wife's relation — 
And it's nobody's business but mine." 

And my friends why should not the Democratic Party win in 
this campaign? It was under a democratic administration — that of 
Thomas Jefferson — that the great Louisiana Purchase was con- 
cluded, where, by the single stroke of a pen, we acquired more 
territory than is embraced in any of the countries of Europe, with 
the exception of Russia. 

It was under a democratic administration — that of James K. 
Polk — that the war with Mexico was fought, in which we planted 
the flag of this Republic in the Citadel of the great Montezumas — 
in the Capital of the mighty Aztec Kings, and added to our ter- 
ritory the Republic of Texas, and the States of Arizona and New 
Mexico, an empire in themselves. 

It was under a democratic administration — that of James Mon- 
roe — that we acquired the beautiful State of Florida, the land of 
unending summer and eternal sunshine and ever-blooming flowers. 

Why, when our government was formed the thirteen original 
Colonies occupied scarcely more than a quarter of a million square 
miles. Now we have within our borders four million square miles, 
and every foot of this additional three million, seven hundred and 
fifty thousand square miles of territory was acquired under a 
democratic President when the Democratic Party was in power. 

And all this vast territory — the emerald plains of the mighty 
North, now golden in the autumn glow, glittering with spired 
cities, and crowded with its busy millions; and the empire of the 
mighty West, with its fertile farms and fields of ripened harvests, 

Musings of a Mountaineer 157 

that now look like seas of sunset gold; and the cotton fields of the 
mystic South, bursting into pearly foam beneath the sensuous kiss 
of the autumn sun — this mighty trinity of Empires constitutes 
Democracy's gift to the people of the United States. 

But that is not all. It was Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic, 
President, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the grand- 
est declaration of human rights ever given to the world in all the 
mighty tide of time. 

It was James Madison, a Democratic President, who wrote the 
Constitution of the United States, the pattern upon which the 
Nations of the earth in modern times have fashioned their gov- 

It was James Monroe, a Democratic President, who gave to the 
world the great Monroe Doctrine, that has served through all the 
years to prevent European interference in the affairs of the Western 

It was a Democratic President, Woodrow Wilson, who wrote 
the Covenant of the League of Nations, which presented to the 
world for the first time in concrete form a plan looking to the 
lasting and permanent peace of mankind since the Angels of 
heaven sang to the Shepherds of Bethlehem their song of "Peace 
on earth, good will to men." And long years after his enemies 
shall have been forgotten; and a thousand years after his critics 
and slanderers and traducers shall have been sleeping in the 
"tongueless silence of the dreamless dust" the lips of little children 
yet unborn will continue to lisp the name of Woodrow Wilson, 
for he preached the gospel of the Prince of Peace and the universal 
Brotherhood of Man. 

The Democratic Party is the oldest party in this country. It has 
out-lived all other parties. It saw the old Federalist party die. It 
engaged in many a fierce contest with the old Whig Party, but it 
saw the Whig Party go down to rise no more forever. It has out- 
lived the Greenback Party, and the Know-nothing Party, and the 
Populist Party. It saw the great Progressive Party spring up under 
the magnificent leadership of the brilliant Roosevelt, and fight 
through one campaign and then go down never to rise again. 

And it has out-lived La Follette's party. The party that was 
composed of the Socialists, and the Reds and Communists, and the 
I. W. W.'s, and the dissatisfied and disgruntled of all other parties, 

158 Random Thoughts and the 

and many good people. La Follette's party, the party that had no 
founder and no name. 

La Follette's party reminds me of the riddle which one darky 
propounded to another. He said: "Ji m > can y° u te ^ me tne &£" 
ference between the Prince of Wales, a bald-headed man, a young 
monkey and an orphan child?" Of course he couldn't answer and 
the other darky replied: "Well, the Prince of Wales is an heir 
apparent; a bald-headed man has no hair apparent; a young monkey 
has a hairy parent, and an orphan child ain't got airy parent." 

La Follette's party is like Uncle Remus said about the mule; it 
had neither the pride of ancestry nor the hope of posterity. 

Yes, the Democratic Party has out-lived La Follette's party, and 
it will yet live to perform the last sad obsequies at the burial of the 
Republican Party. And when the Republican Party dies, and as 
the American people stand around its bier, and sing that good old 
familiar hymn, "Hark from the tomb a doleful sound, Mine ears 
attend the cry", we will erect a monument to the memory of the 
Republican Party as high as the Tea-Pot Dome, and on one side 
of that monument we will write these words: 

"Here lies the G. O. P., which being interpreted, means the Great 
Oil Party." And on another side of that monument we will write 
these words: 

"Tread gently round this sacred heap, 
Here the G. O. P.'s restless ashes sleep, 
Its greed for pie ne'er did forsake it, 
Don't mention oil or you'll surely wake it." 

And on another side of that monument we will write these 

"While it lived, it lived in clover, 
But when it died, it died all over." 

And on the last and final side of that monument we will inscribe 
the same epitaph which the man who never could get along with his 
wife wrote on her tomb-stone when she died: 

"Here lies Nellie Proctor, 
She died for the need of a Doctor; 
She wanted to stay, but she had to go, 
Praise God from whom all blessings flow." 

Musings of a Mountaineer 159 

Now, when will the Democratic Party die? The Democratic 
Party will never die because the principles for which it stands will 
never die, and the principles for which it stands will never die 
because they are eternally right. Its leaders may die, its rank and 
file may die, but its principles never. Men — mere men will rise and 
fall like leaves before the wind as it whirls through the forests on 
its way to meet the roar of the climbing waves as they rise from 
the sea; but the principles of the Democratic Party are as eternal 
and unchanging as the granite in my everlasting hills and the 
eternal twinkling of the stars. In every country on earth in which 
human beings dwell, there the spirit of democracy breathes and 
lives. Its spirit was born when the Morning Stars first sang Cre- 
ation's hymn and heralded Creation's Dawn. Its birth was coeval 
with the birth of Truth and Justice, for Justice is Truth and Truth 
is eternal. And at last when Time shall be no more and this old 
world of ours shall go back to the Night of Nothingness from 
which it was formed, the spirit of democracy will continue to live 
to survive the crash of matter and the wreck of worlds. 

And I think it is such a pity that Thomas A. Edison, the greatest 
inventor of all time had to die before completing what he himself 
said would be the greatest achievement of his life, and that was to 
establish some sort of communication between the living and the 
dead; because if he had succeeded in establishing some sort of radio 
connection between this world and the world above the sun, when 
the stars begin to shine on election night I would ring up William 
Jennings Bryan and ask him to see Woodrow Wilson and get him 
to hunt up Grover Cleveland, and ask Cleveland to see Andrew 
Jackson, and have Jackson request Thomas Jefferson to make 
proclamation to all the hosts of heaven that the whole face of the 
earth had gone democratic! 


Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; 
thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor 
honor the person of the mighty; but in righteous- 
ness shalt thou judge thy neighbor. 

Leviticus, Chapter 19: 15. 

Since going upon the Bench while sitting around the hotels at 
night I have written, as the thoughts came to me, the following 
paragraphs, together with certain quotations which constitute to 
some extent my conceptions of the duties of a Judge. I give them 
here with the hope that they may be of some interest to my 
brethren on the Bench. 

A Judge should possess the wisdom of a Solomon and the 
patience of a Job; the self-denial of a Hermit; the industry of a 
Honey Bee; the conscience of a Saint; and the courage of a 

A common error is the supposition that a Judge is called upon 
to discharge a function of the Almighty. The Judge is neither the 
Creator nor Preserver of things human or Divine. His business is 
to judge, to decide, to compare and determine relative to existing 
things. The parties furnish proof of what they claim the truth to 
be. He picks out the truth. They furnish evidence of what they 
claim the law to be. He picks out the law. If he weighs the evi- 
dence he acts as a scales. In measuring he is a yardstick. He must 
not add anything to the weight or quantity. His mind should be 
so free from prejudice that it will respond readily, like a well oiled 
balance. His yardstick must always be of the same length. The 
justice which he administers does not emanate from him. If it is 
legal justice the law has already determined it. If it is justice 
arising from the nature of things the law of nature has fixed it. 
Any self-interest or other bias tending to incline his mind in favor 


of one party or the other unfits him for the task. It falsifies his 
judgment. If he mistakes his calling for that of a law-maker or 
substitutes his own conscience for the mandates of the law or the 
proofs of facts, he is a false balance, an elastic yardstick. A yard- 
stick cannot be stretched. Two cannot be transformed into three. 
The size of a bushel measure cannot be increased. The purest 
saint and the vilest sinner weigh the same when justice tips the 
judicial scales. 

Our government is divided into three branches — the Legislative, 
the Executive and the Judicial. The Legislative makes the laws; 
the Executive declares them and the Judicial enforces them. The 
proper balance between these three departments can only be main- 
tained by each department attending strictly to its own business. 
When a Judge attempts to pass upon the justice of the law and 
modify it to suit his own notions the Legislature is put out of 
business. If he concludes the law is unjust and should not be 
enforced and so refuses to enter the judgment which the facts 
warrant, out of mercy for the unfortunate offender, the Executive 
Department is deprived of its functions. The conscience of the 
Judge, therefore, should find satisfaction in the discharge of his 
Judicial duties according to existing law. A violation of this rule 
would abolish government by law and substitute a judicial oli- 
garchy. And so the Judge should be a magnet to attract the truth. 
He must be able to sit with the Judges of the highest Courts and 
extract from their opinions the very essence of the points decided, 
and take the places of the law writers in their offices and from their 
points of view get the real gist of their writings. He should have 
the mental grasp that can collect within its scope the statutes of 
the Legislature and extract from the mass the real meaning which 
is intended to be embodied in the law. From his place on the Bench 
he should explore with the telescope of a fully informed mind the 
current of jurisprudence, even to their fountain heads, and with 
the microscope of a trained and accurate judgment be able to tell 
exactly the nature of the question presented to him for his decision. 

Since there is no virtue so Godlike as justice, the Judge should 
hear courteously, consider soberly, answer wisely, and decide im- 
partially every question presented for his decision. 

It was Lord Coke who said: "A Judge who decideth a cause 
without giving both sides full opportunity to be heard, although 

162 Random Thoughts and the 

his decision may be just, is himself, unjust," — to which I add, that 
the right to be fully heard is as sacred as the right to a just 

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and 
shame unto him. Solomon's Proverbs, Chapter 18: 13. 

That power which is of utmost importance to the Judge is the 
ability to suspend judgment until each party has been fully heard. 
This is the rarest quality of intellect possessed by man. It comes 
as a flower only to the wisest and best. The most difficult thing in 
the world for even the wisest man to do is to wait until he has 
heard both sides before making up his mind, and then, after reach- 
ing a conclusion to be able to change his opinion, if by the aid of 
new light, it ought to be changed. 

I would rather be insulted by two lawyers than have one afraid 
of me, for it is easier to bear the insult than to do without the 
assistance of an untrammeled lawyer. 

Judging is an act of the intellect. It is an application of knowl- 
edge within to information without. It is most essential, therefore, 
that the Judge should appreciate his dependence upon the Bar for 
his information, and that there is no lawyer so unlearned or inex- 
perienced that he cannot tell the wisest Judge things about the 
evidence and the law of the case he is trying that the Judge does 
not know and is not likely to ascertain from any other source. The 
work of the Judge involves a multitude of perplexing problems and 
he needs all the assistance that an enlightened Bar can afford 
him in the discharge of his duties. An arbitrary, overbearing and 
conceited Judge can get but little aid from the lawyers he intimi- 
dates. The Judge who modestly admits his ignorance and shows 
an eager desire to learn, gets the greatest aid from Attorneys, 
parties and witnesses. 

Courage is essential in the formation of correct decision. The 
Judge must have no master but the truth. At its shrine he must 
ever offer unswerving devotion. It is essential that he have some- 
thing in his breast that money cannot buy and an unfaltering 
courage that fears no consequences except such as can justly come 
from a failure to discharge his duty. If so be, he is thus happily 

Musings of a Mountaineer 163 

equipped, by nature and by training, then calmly and gently as the 
dew descends he may proceed with his task, able without emotion 
to pit his individual thought against the clamors of the world. 

There is, and there should be such a thing as judicial dignity. 
It is my most earnest wish that I may maintain in the exalted 
position to which my people have elevated me, that dignity which 
is born of common sense and naturalness. Being a devout believer 
in the plain and familiar maxims of common sense, it is my highest 
purpose to bring them to bear in the discharge of every judicial 

It is my belief that no man ever ascended to the seat of judgment 
with a view to his own aggrandizement and the gratification of a 
selfish ambition who was ever successful in rearing up an unsullied 
fame as an impartial Judge. A single purpose to pursue the right 
under all circumstances, is the first and most important element of 
a useful and successful judicial career. 

Justice is blind when she poises her scales. She sees neither one 
of the suitors before her. They bring their causes and weigh them 
without being seen or known by the fabled Goddess; and this 
heathen mythology portrays the great moral scales, which, in the 
hands of the single-minded Judge, determines the hands of right 
and wrong in our day of Christian civilization. If he is intellec- 
tually honest and seeks nothing but justice, he becomes blind to 
all save the inward light of an enlightened conscience. He must 
see neither friends nor foes in those who come to ask judgment on 
their conduct. Love and hate must alike be banished from his 
heart when he assumes the awful task of judging his fellow-men. 
A deep and overwhelming sense of responsibility should purge his 
breast of all passion and prejudice, the common inheritance of us 
all, and elevate his mind for support and guidance upward toward 
the Source and Fountain of all Wisdom. 

The law is not a system of mercy on the one hand or vengeance 
on the other; it is a system, rather which seeks to administer equal 
and exact justice and equal and exact justice constitutes a pair of 
scales which measures out deserts rather than desires. Justice can 
be done only when cases are tried on their merits. In the adminis- 
tration of the criminal law, it is my belief that a culprit should be 

164 Random Thoughts and the 

punished only for the crime for which he has been convicted, and 
not for crimes for which he has not been tried or for which he has 
been previously tried and made to pay the penalty of the law. I 
believe that the highest aim of the law is to save and not to destroy. 
And while in its administration no one is so strong, or rich or pow- 
erful as to be beyond the reach of its avenging arm, it must be re- 
membered that its mission as the chosen apostle of freedom has 
always been to succor the oppressed, the feeble, the suffering and 
the poor, and to minister in the spirit of the great Master to those 
and their kind whom He blessed upon the Mount of Olives. 

The poor have greater need to seek redress in the Courts than 
the rich and they must not be denied redress on account of their 
poverty. The road to the Fountain of Justice should be short and 
straight, and not blockaded with so many toll gates that no one 
can enter her temple without paving his way with gold. No one, 
feeling himself aggrieved, should be penalized for appealing his 
case, and I believe that little, if any harm has ever been done by 
tempering justice with a reasonable degree of mercy. 


I know not whether Laws be right, 

Or whether Laws be wrong; 

All that we know who lie in jail 

Is that the wall is strong; 

And that each day is like a year, 

A year whose days are long. 

But this I know, that every Law 

That men have made for Man, 

Since Man took his brother's life, 

And the sad world began, 

But straws the wheat and saves the chaff 

With a most evil fan. 

This too I know — and wise it were 

If each could know the same — 

That every prison that men build 

Is built with bricks of shame, 

And bound with bars lest Christ should see 

How men their brothers maim. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 165 

With bars they blur the gracious moon, 

And blind the goodly sun; 

And they do well to hide their hell, 

For in it things are done 

That Son of God nor Son of Man 

Ever should look upon. 

The vilest deeds like poison words 
Bloom well in prison-air; 
It is only what is good in Man 
That wastes and withers there; 
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate, 
And the Warden is Despair. 

For they starve the little frightened child 

Till it weeps both night and day; 

And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool, 

And gibe the old and gray, 

And some grow mad, and all grow bad, 

And none a word may say. 

Each narrow cell in which we dwell 
Is foul and dark latrine, 
And fetid breath of living Death 
Chokes up each grated screen, 
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust 
In Humanity's machine. 

The brackish water that we drink 

Creeps with a loathsome slime, 

And the bitter bread they weigh in scales 

Is full of chalk and lime, 

And sleep will not lie down, but walks 

Wild-eyed, and cries to time. 

And every human heart that breaks, 

In prison cell or yard, 

Is as that broken box that gave 

Its treasure to the Lord, 

And filled the unclean leper's house 

With the scent of costliest nard. 

166 Random Thoughts and the 

Ah! happy they whose hearts can break 

And peace of pardon win; 

How else may man make straight his plan 

And cleanse his soul of Sin? 

How else but through a broken heart 

May Lord Christ enter in? 

—Oscar Wilde. 

Governments can end; Presidents do make mistakes, but the 
immortal Dante tells us that Divine Justice weighs the sins of the 
cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales. 

— President Roosevelt. 

A cobweb will draw down the scales when nothing offers to 

— Roman Law Maxim. 


Our system of law is based upon the law of Nature and the 
Ten Commandments. The law of Nature is the source of all human 
law; and the law of Revelation, which distinctly formulates these 
principles into positive precepts, only affirms and re-enacts the law 
of Nature. The law of Nature is the law of civilization, and the 
Ten Commandments furnish the foundation for the Codes of all 
the civilized nations of the earth. These laws command what is 
right and prohibit what is wrong; they command men what to 
do and prohibit what they are not to do. They plainly mark the 
dividing line between Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Virtue 
and Vice. 

Ours is a Christian Nation and the law of Nature and the law 
of Revelation are as much a part of our system as if formally 
enacted by statute. 

The law of Moses was rigid and rigorous in its requirements. It 
exacted an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life; 
but after Moses there came Another under whose dispensation a 
gentler and milder administration of the criminal law was estab- 
lished. He modified and humanized the rigor of the Mosaic law. 
From the Cross itself He prayed: "Father, forgive them for they 

Musings of a Mountaineer 167 

know not what they do." By this prayer He abolished the law of 
vengeance. He taught that they who have the power and fail to 
temper justice with mercy have no right to expect or hope for 
mercy in that great Court above the sun in which the only plea that 
will save them from a worse fate than that which awaits the con- 
victed criminal will be a plea of mercy. The law of Moses was just, 
but it was mandatory and harsh. But instead of commandments 
Jesus offered Beatitudes. Instead of thunder He offered music. 
Threats were replaced by promises, and punishments interested 
Him less than rewards. He sent ringing down to us through the 
ages the positive but golden and unselfish Rule: "Therefore, all 
things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even 
so to them; for this is the law and the prophets." And our own 
Supreme Court, in numerous cases, by direct reference and exact 
quotation, has made this Golden Rule a part of the law of this 
State, in cases involving the law of fraud, estoppel, negligence and 
crime, and in other instances in which equitable rights and remedies 
are invoked. It is a positive command, mandatory in its terms; 
and if judgments are to be rendered in righteousness, this Rule 
must be obeyed by those charged with the fearful responsibility 
of administering law and justice. 


Soon after coming to the Bench I read a book entitled, "I be- 
lieve in Man", written by an Alabama Judge. He had presided 
for twelve years on the Superior Court Bench in one of the larger 
cities of his State. 

In the administration of the criminal law he believed in the 
severity more than in the certainty of punishment. Following the 
idea of the Mosaic Code he believed in that system of punishment 
that exacts "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a life for 
a life." In other words for every violation of the criminal law, he 
believed that the full penalty should be paid. 

But he said that there sat opposite him through all these years a 
Judge of much learning, wisdom and experience, who was then 
more than eighty years of age, and who had presided in that Court 
for nearly half a century. The two Judges possessed the same 
powers, under the law, and were clothed with the same jurisdiction. 

168 Random Thoughts and the 

But this old man had always believed in a mild and humane admin- 
istration of the criminal law. He believed that the certainty and not 
the severity of punishment is the most effective deterrent of crime. 
He believed that the Goddess of Mercy should walk hand in hand 
with the Goddess of Justice. He believed that the highest object 
of the law is to save men rather than destroy them. He believed 
that the prayer of Christ from the Cross: "Father, forgive them 
for they know not what they do" abolished the Mosaic law of 
hereditary sin; placed upon a personal basis responsibility for 
offenses against God and man, and served notice on all future 
generations that those who "know not what they do" may still 
have hope that they, too, may be spared and forgiven; and he 
therefore believed in giving men a chance, in deserving cases, by 
pronouncing suspended sentences, so framed that an intentional 
violation of their terms would automatically carry the sentences 
into effect. 

Once a mighty flood came in the river which flows by the city in 
which these Judges lived. Its angry waters had spread over the 
entire low lands, and the fallen timbers and debris which the flood 
had gathered from the woods and forest along its course had 
accumulated until, as the flood-tide flowed by the city, day after 
day, the entire surface of the waters was covered with driftwood. 
The poorer people of the city, in ever-increasing numbers, had 
occupied themselves in wading the more shallow waters and sal- 
vaging this floating driftwood for their winter's fuel. 

One day these two Judges stood upon the banks of the river 
and watched the laborers as they salvaged the driftwood from its 
current. Finally the old Judge said: "It is so life like. Many of 
us are born and live up where the waters are sweet and pure; others 
work their way upstream. We are eager to work the oars, to do 
our share and then we grow smug and content. The storms come, 
our barks go on the rocks, many fall into the waters, while others 
give up and quit fighting. We become discouraged and drift with 
the tide. We lose faith in our fellows, then faith in life, and 
afterwards faith in God; and then we become driftwood on the 
current of the river of life. And at last, unless strong arms and 
brave hearts throw out the life-line, we drift to the Port of Missing 
Men. You know old Peter was driftwood, and the Master salvaged 
him from the waters. All my life, in the face of severest criticism, 
I have done the little I could to salvage the driftwood of humanity 

Musings of a Mountaineer 169 

floating down the river of life before me, and I find supreme satis- 
faction in the knowledge that there are many men in this State 
today occupying places of usefulness and trust and honor and 
profit to whom I gave another chance when they were wayward 

Well, the time soon came when that good old man was stricken 
and the young Judge visited him on his death-bed. He was un- 
conscious, but seemed to realize that some one was in the room. 
Lifting his withered and wasted hand he pointed to the window 
and said: "I want you to see my boat as it rests at anchor out there 
in the river. Every piece of timber in it is made of driftwood. In 
its entire construction I have not used a nail nor a bolt nor a spike. 
Its joints are bound together with bands of love and sympathy 
and compassion and pity. It is finished now. Its engines are fired; 
its sails are unfurled to heaven's breezes, and it is ready to go." 

A Judge who pursues the policy of that old man in imposing 
punishment in our criminal Courts will be criticised and con- 
demned by some. It is easy for those to criticise who are not re- 
sponsible for the consequences of punishment. When Jesus was 
on the earth He preached the gospel of "the glad tidings of great 
joy" to the poor, but He was criticised because He sat down at the 
table to eat with publicans and sinners. It was His delight to "visit 
the sick and those that were in prison", but He was denounced as 
the friend of the outcast and the friendless. 

A hundred times I have invoked that old man's rule in pro- 
nouncing judgments against erring boys. Some of them have failed 
me; some of them are making good; but if I can salvage enough 
of driftwood to construct a boat, I shall have no fear but that it 
will brave the storms and ride the waves, for it is my abiding faith 
that such a boat will be piloted by a Captain who has crossed both 
ways the Mystic River that divides this world from the next. 

No matter how low a man may fall, he still has somewhere in 
him a light that burns; some spark of honor for which he is still 

170 Random Thoughts and the 

"In men whom men condemn as ill, 
I find so much of goodness still; 
In men whom men pronounce divine, 
I find so much of sin and blot, 
I hesitate to draw the line 
Between the two, where God has not." 

— Author Unknown, 

"There's no one ever quite so bad, 
That somewhere way down deep inside, 
A little goodness does not find 
A place wherein to creep and hide." 

— Selected. 


It is said of Victor Hugo, the great French writer, that on one 
occasion when he was addressing an audience composed largely of 
young men, he said in substance that the world could well afford 
to have all of its wheels of progress stopped, and all of its activities 
suspended, if it were necessary to do so in order to save one young 
man. A man in the audience arose and inquired, "For how long 
a time could the world afford to stand still for such purpose?" And 
Hugo at once replied: "For such time as would be required to save 
the young man." 

The law should be loved a little because it is felt to be just; 
feared a little because it is severe; hated a little because it is to a 
certain degree out of sympathy with the prevalent temper of the 
day; and respected a little because it is felt to be a necessity. 

— Emile Tourget. 

To err is human, to forgive divine. 

— Pope. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 171 

'Tis easy to say "just so"; 

The law will hold, 

But the wiser among us say "may be", 

For the law is not poured in a mould. 

— Selected Classics. 

If I have had time to make a mistake I shall take time to cor- 
rect it. 

A good conscience is the compass by which a Judge should be 

Who is engaged in administering justice should himself be 

It is unjust to do justice by doing injustice. 

A judge's mind is like a parachute; it will function only when 
it is open. 

Self-conceit is the eclipse that clouds the judicial light. 

A late Bench makes a laggard Bar. 

Flattery is the most effective bribe. 

Who has too high an opinion of himself has too low an estimate 
of others. 

A good man will not impute worse motives than he would have 
entertained under the same circumstances, and a bad man will not 
likely impute better. 

172 Random Thoughts and the 

A wise man will learn from a fool, but one fool will not learn 
from another. 

Before you fool with a fool be sure you have a fool to fool with. 

A troubled conscience takes many strange and devious steps. 

As unrestrained torrents of water submerge whole country-sides, 
and devastate homes and crops and everything that happens to be 
in their way, even so an uncontrolled pen or an unguarded tongue 
serves but to destroy. 

I care not by whose hand the lamp of truth is held out to me; it 
is the light I want. 

Why should I be so much interested in the source of the stream 
or the point of its entrance into the Sea? It is enough for me that 
my little bark is floating down its current, and I will do well if 
I shall be able to steer its course away from the shoals and the 

Allow no one to labor in the gardens of the Temple save those 
who despise the weeds. 

— Confucius. 

Like as a father pitieth his children so the Lord pitieth them 
that fear Him. 

Psalms, 103: 13. 

Who shall put his finger on the work of justice and say "It is 
there"? Justice is like the Kingdom of God; it is not without us 
as a fact; it is within us as a great yearning. 

— George Eliot. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 173 

If we wish to be just judges of all things, let us first persuade 
ourselves of this: that there is not one of us without fault; no man 
is found who can acquit himself; and he who calls himself innocent 
does so without reference to a witness, and not to his conscience. 

— Seneca. 

I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches 
nearest to the Gods who knows how to keep silent, even though 
he is in the right. 

— Cato. 

I honor any man who in the conscious discharge of his duty 
dares to stand alone; the world, with ignorant, intolerant judg- 
ment, may condemn; the countenance of relatives may be averted, 
and the hearts of friends grow cold; but the sense of duty done 
shall be sweeter than the applause of the world, the countenance 
of relatives, or the hearts of friends. 

— Charles Sumner. 

The chief difference between a wise man and an ignorant one is, 
not that the first is acquainted with regions invisible to the second, 
away from common sight and interest, but that he understands the 
common things which the second only sees. 

— Starr King. 


Garbed in the robes and the ermine of power, 
Sitting in judgment like Almighty God, 
In judging of men in their troublous hour, 
Scanning their deeds and the ways they have trod. 

Symbol of Justice, of Law and of Order, 
Bulwark of Mercy, of Truth and of Right, 
His to defend like a chivalrous sworder, 
Equity struggling with pitiless Might. 


For weal or for woe of mankind his decision 
More potent and mighty than the word of the Priest, 
His mandates may hold even a King in derision, 
His judgments hold power through life long has ceased. 

He holds the key to the iron-bound prison, 
Estates he may sway by his potent decree, 
His dictates may dry the sad tears that have risen, 
Or, ill-inclined, he may slay Liberty. 

Stricken is justice — unhappy the Nation, 
Whose judges will yield to a demagogue's tricks, 
Who seek for themselves the mob's acclamation, 
And sink in the bog of base politics. 

Woe to the land with a Jeffreys afflicted, 
Unhappy the man who must mercy implore 
From vain pigmy Daniels with justice restricted 
To those who can gold in their itching palms pour. 

Comes yet a Marshall whose Justice and Vision 
Proclaim him a giant in Destiny's Plan, 
Whose far-seeing wisdom in every decision 
Guides a great land o'er the Century's Span. 

Written in gold in the Common Law's story 
Are the Hales, and the Mansfields, the Cokes and the Holts, 
In the Citadel of Right they have ruled to their glory, 
Iniquity striking like great thunderbolts. 

Burning with hatred of Wrong and Oppression, 

In law's white marmoreal halls they have trod 

With Mercy and Justice, and judged men's transgression, 

With Love and Forgiveness — like Almighty God. 

— Author Unknown. 



Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the 
multitude of counsel there is safety. 

Proverbs 11: 14. 

In my long practice at the Bar, it was my experience in arguing 
cases before the jury, that an illustration, that really did illustrate 
the proposition involved, was worth more than a volume of argu- 
ment. For many years I made it my practice, when I had used an 
illustration that appeared to me to have been effectual, to place 
it in my "Lawyer's Notebook" for future use. I include some of 
these illustrations in the following pages with the hope that the 
younger members of the legal profession may find them of value. 


Broadly speaking, there is a difference between character and 
reputation. Character is what a man is; reputation is what he is 
thought to be. Character is within; reputation is without. Character 
is always real; reputation may be false. Character is substantial 
and enduring, reputation may be temporary and fleeting. Character 
is what gives a man value in his own eyes; reputation is what he is 
valued at in the eyes of others. Character is his real worth; repu- 
tation is his market value. A man may have a good character and 
a bad reputation; or he may have a good reputation and a bad 
chracter, as we form our opinion of men from what they appear 
to be and not from what they really are. 

In law, reputation and character are synonomous terms. But in 
law character is something more than the absence of bad character. 
In the case of In Re Applicants for License, 191 N. C, 238, Judge 
Stacy says in substance: In law, "good character includes all the 
elements necessary to make up such a character. It is the good 
name which a man has acquired, or should have acquired, through 
associations with his fellows" — the good name which Solomon tells 

176 Random Thoughts and the 

us is rather to be chosen than great riches; the good name that is 
worth more than silver and gold. "It means that he must have 
conducted himself as a man of upright character ordinarily would, 
or should, or does. Such character expresses itself, not in negatives, 
nor in following the line of least resistance, but quite often in the 
will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right, and resolve not to do 
the pleasant thing if it is wrong." 

Mr. Erskine, the greatest of all English lawyers, tells us that 
"Character is the slow spreading influence of opinion arising from 
the deportment of a man in society, as a man's deportment, good 
or bad, necessarily produces one circle without another and so 
extends itself till it unites in one general opinion." 

Character is a process of time and growth and development. It 
is the result of the combination of the numerous elements and 
phases and traits and principles that go to make an upright, hon- 
orable and useful man. A dollar is composed of a thousand mills; 
character is composed of a thousand thoughts and acts and deeds. 
Every act, however trivial, has its train of consequences, as every 
object, however small, casts its own shadow. 

As the snow-flakes fall to the earth unperceived, and are gathered 
together so that they cover the ground with a mantle of white, so 
the seemingly unimportant events of life succeed one another. No 
flake creates any perceptible change in the blanket of snow, just 
as no single act of life constitutes, however much it may portray 
or seem to portray a person's character. It is the simple things; 
those acts which, when standing alone, are of but little, if any 
significance, but which when considered together as a connected 
whole make up the sum of life, that enable us to form a true and 
accurate estimate and a sound and definite judgment of human 
character and conduct. 


(Froom speech for the State in State v. Munday, tried 
for manslaughter in Macon County.) 

It is related of Juggernaut, or Jagernath, as he was sometimes 
called, the chief idol of those who followed the Hindu faith, and 
who was believed by them to be the great "Lord of the World", 
that when driving through the city of Puri in India on Festival 

Musings of a Mountaineer 177 

days, he would crush to death beneath the wheels of his mighty 
chariot the multitudes that lined the Streets to do him homage. 

And so on this fatal September day this defendant, with equat 
disregard for human life; with culpable and criminal indifference 
to the laws enacted for the promotion of the public safety and 
travel, drove his car with reckless speed over the Streets of Franklin 
and left in his tracks the mangled and lifeless corpse of his innocent 

And then, faster than the fleeting shadow of the swiftest wing; 
faster than the vehicle of thought drawn by horses swifter of foot 
than the lightning's steeds, and faster than the sunbeam's glimmer 
as it passes from heaven to earth, and with flapping wings of re- 
splendent glory encircles the globe, the spirit of little Arthur Reece 
took its flight into the mysterious realms of the great Unknown. 






In Tennyson's "Lotus Sleepers", the soldiers returning from the 
siege of Troy, came to a lake in a land where it was always eve- 
ning; and that is the land where old age sits and meditates. 

Tennyson's soldiers heard whispering voices coming across the 
dreary waters where the boats swung lazily against the shore — 
voices from this land of the everlasting evening. And that is the 
place where this good old man is now. Never more will he face 
the noon time. Never again for him will the sun rest on the high 
circle of life's magnificent span. He is now facing the West, and 
for him the journey is westward from this day forevermore. He is 
traveling down the western slope of the hill, and henceforth and 
forever he must reckon with the sunset hour. The gates of the 
morning have been closed behind him forever. No more shall he 
watch Aurora, with rosy-tinted fingers, pull back the curtains of 
the night and flood the world with the effulgence of the Dawn. 
He is over on the other side of the Great Divide where the mellow 
light of evening is softening everything into an afterglow. 

And, as he sits before you today, wrapped in a benediction of 

178 Random Thoughts and the 

white hair, with the stain of Calvary on his cheek; as he sits here 
holding in his troubled mind and heart the associated memories of 
a life- time; as he rests on the margin of the great River that divides 
this world from the next, with nothing to do but rest in hope, 
weary only with the years, and watching and waiting for your 
verdict — to tell him whether he is to lose only one boy or two — let 
me appeal to you for a verdict that will mend and set his broken 
heart-strings; a verdict that will carry with it a healing balm for 
his broken spirit. 

Do not make the mistake to believe that a verdict of guilty will 
punish the boy alone. Oh, no! The blow would fall most heavily 
on innocent heads. It is always so. 

w Til pay the price', he said as though 
On him alone would fall the blow. 
Poor youth, who fancied that his sin 
No other lives had gathered in, 
And that he truly walked alone 
Into the house of steel and stone. 

w 'Spare him', a kindly neighbor said, 
'This erring youth has been misled. 
I knew his people, fine and true, 
It is for them I come to you. 
This shame their troubled hearts will break, 
I ask you mercy for their sake.' 

"I stood beside the Judge and heard 
The family doctor speak a word 
In his behalf. The priest came in, 
Pardon, if possible, to win. 
Not for the boy alone, but all 
On whom his punishment would fall. 

"Sentence was passed. Upon his face 
Emotion could not write a trace. 
He could not understand; he didn't know 
That as from Court he turned to go, 
That all who once had thought him fair 
Had years and years of agony to bear." 

Musings of a Mountaineer 179 


Have you ever seen the City of San Francisco? I have not; and 
yet I know that the great city is there by the western sea, with its 
bustling streets and teeming thousands of people, representing 
every race, and every phase of human character, and every grade 
and condition of life mixing and mingling together in that great 
mart of modern civilization. I have never been to that beautiful 
city by the sea, but so certain am I that it is there that as I listen 
I can hear the rumbling of the heavy wheels and the clatter of the 
rushing traffic on its busy streets. I can hear the footfalls of the 
moving throngs and the murmur of the multitudinous voices like 
the eternal roar of the ocean waves that break on its rock-bound 

Have you ever seen the great Mississippi River? I had not until 
recently, and yet I knew that the ceaseless and resistless current was 
forever there, extending from the reigons of perpetual snow to the 
land of unending summer, and constituting a mighty Highway for 
the inland commerce of this country. 

Why is it that I believe in the existence of these places that I 
have never seen? I have listened to the tales of travelers; I have 
read it in the books, and, having no reason to doubt the truth of 
their statements my mind is compelled to accept the truth of 
what they say. 

I have never seen the Saviour of the World. I have never beheld 
the majesty of his face, nor listened to the sweet melancholy music 
of his voice. And yet I know that my Redeemer lives. I believe that 
He walked upon the waters and bade the winds be still and whis- 
pered "Peace" to the troubled waters of Galilee; I believe that at 
his slightest touch the blind were made to see and the deaf to hear 
and the dumb to speak; I believe that at his invitation the lame 
arose and walked; I believe that He stood at the grave of Lazarus 
and that at his command the dead stepped forth living from the 
grim embrace of the tomb; and I believe that He stood in the 
home of the ruler of the synagogue, whose only little daughter 
had just died, and that, taking her by the hand He said to her: 
"Little damsel, little maid, I say unto thee arise;" and then her 
heart resumed its beating with ceaseless, tireless stroke, sending the 
crimson streams of life bounding and circling through every artery 
and every vein, and she arose and walked. Yes, I believe these 

180 Random Thoughts and the 

things, and why? Because I have read the testimony of those who, 
with their own eyes, saw those marvelous occurrences; and finding 
no satisfactory reason to doubt the truth of their statements, but 
with abiding confidence in the character, credibility and veracity 
of the witnesses, corroborated and supported as they are by a host 
of Jewish and Pagan and Christian witnesses of the same century 
and country in which these mighty events came to pass, it is in- 
evitable that I should have faith in the evidence; and faith in evi- 
dence generates belief; and belief results in conviction; and convic- 
tion removes doubt; and when doubt is absent, then in the presence 
of faith and belief and conviction the veil is lifted from the face 
of the lustrous Image of Truth. 


The gentlemen on the other side make "much ado", and have 
much to say about what they are pleased to term the fatal contra- 
dictions in the testimony of our witnesses; but we insist that a fair 
and impartial analysis of their testimony will show, instead of 
contradictions, nothing more than mere, unimportant discrepancies, 
apparent, rather than real. They tell you that because our witnesses 
do not agree in minutest detail; that because, having had an oppor 
tunity to know all the facts, they fail to testify to precisely the 
same things, that they are unworthy of your belief, and that, there- 
fore, all their evidence should be discredited, and that our case 
should fail. We reply that each witness has truly stated what he 
knows; that one witness may have observed a fact of which the 
others have no knowledge, or that a witness may honestly have 
failed to state a fact within his knowledge because of honest over- 
sight. And we assert that an examination of the entire evidence 
will show that respecting the main, essential facts; the facts consti- 
tuting the real, vital issues in the case, our witnesses are in entire 

But the gentlemen on the other side tell you that because the 
witnesses do not agree upon the unimportant details their evidence 
upon the essential points must go for naught. Now let me illustrate 
with an example from sacred history respecting a matter about 
which we are all concerned, and by this means test the soundness 
of their logic and the validity of their argument. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 181 

Of the four Gospel writers, Matthew and John are the only 
two who were with the Savior during most of His ministry on 
earth. There is no evidence that Mark was with him at all other 
than a tradition that he may have been one of the seventy Disciples 
who were sent out to preach and that he may have been present 
when the Last Supper was celebrated. But authentic history tells 
us that he wrote his Gospel at the dictation of Peter who was 
always present after his call and watched the trial and crucifixion 
from afar. It is claimed by none that Luke was an eye witness, 
although he tells us that he "had perfect understanding of all 
things from the very first" and that he had verified the things 
about which he wrote "by many infallible proofs." 

These four Gospel writers, eye witnesses and witnesses possessing 
first hand information, tell us of forty-nine specific miracles 
wrought by Christ. But of the entire forty-nine miracles there are 
only two about which they all agree; one being the healing of 
Malchus, the servant of the High Priest whose ear Peter had cut 
off with his sword on the occasion of the arrest of his Master in 
the Garden, and the other being when He fed a multitude of five 
thousand people with a few loaves and fishes, and there was plenty 
and to spare. 

Matthew, Mark and Luke agree on fourteen of the forty-nine 
miracles; Matthew, Mark and John agree on one; Matthew and 
Mark agree on seven; Matthew and Luke agree on one, and Mark 
and Luke agree on four. 

Matthew mentions five that are not mentioned by the others; 
Mark records two that the others fail to mention; Luke relates 
seven that are not referred to by the others; and John writes of six 
about which the others are silent; and this accounts for the total 
of forty-nine miracles recorded by the four witnesses to the Gospel 
of Christ. 

But none save Matthew tells us that at his slightest touch sight 
was restored to the two blind men; none but Mark relates that He 
made the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak; Luke only tells 
us of the piteous wails of the ten lepers, who, standing afar off 
prayed to Him for mercy, and so aroused the compassion of his 
great heart, that with a word their sores were healed and their 
dread diseases forever cured; while John without corroboration 
from either of the others, tells us that the Son of Man stood at the 

182 Random Thoughts and the 

grave of Lazarus, and that at his command the dead stepped forth 
living from the grim embrace of the tomb. 

These four witnesses, in their testimony of the mightiest events 
in all history, differ only in that each one relates facts about 
which the others have nothing to say; but they do not profess to 
tell all the things the Savior did, for John himself in the last verse 
of his Gospel tells us that "there are also many other things which 
Jesus did, the which, if they were written every one that even the 
world itself could not contain all the books that should be written." 
And yet, if the logic of the gentlemen on the other side is sound, 
we can no longer believe that the great Master walked upon the 
crested waves of the sea, and that at his word the fury of the tem- 
pest was stilled, because some of the witnesses state facts about 
which the others are silent; if theirs is a correct method of reason- 
ing, we can no longer believe that He unstopped the ears of the 
deaf and opened the eyes of the blind; that He preached the Gospel 
of the "glad tidings of great joy" to the poor, and called back to 
life those who were sleeping in the silent City of the Dead, because 
all the witnesses did not all agree to all the others said. 

But, Gentlemen of the Jury, upon the main, essential, vital facts; 
upon the facts that are of transcendent importance to you and 
to me, they are in absolute accord; and out of the plenitude of 
evidence these witnesses tell the great, outstanding, controlling 
facts that serve the purpose intended; the facts that prove to the 
open and unbiased mind that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the 
Son of the living God. They all agree that this Man, this God- 
Man, whose name will live in more than earthly splendor until the 
light of the sun itself shall go out in the darkness of the eternal 
night was the grandest figure that ever graced the mighty tide of 

They all agree that He spake as never man spake; that He was 
supremely wise and supremely good, and that in every variety of 
situation in life, from the loftiest heights of earthly grandeur, amid 
the acclamations of an admiring multitude to the lowest depths 
of degradation, scorned, spurned, scourged and spat upon, and then 
crucified — the most cruel death that was ever devised by a cruel 
race in a cruel age — that the works He wrought were the works 
of a God. And they all agree that He was an inhabitant of two 

Musings of a Mountaineer 183 

worlds; that He came from the realms of eternity to the realms of 
time; that He returned whence He came, and that He triumphed 
over death and robbed the grave of its victory. 


The gentlemen on the other side have much to say about what 
they are pleased to term the fatal contradictions in the testimony 
of our witnesses; but we insist that a fair and impartial analysis of 
their testimony will show, instead of contradictions, nothing more 
than mere, unimportant discrepancies and omissions, apparent 
rather than real. They tell you that because our witnesses do not 
agree in the minutest detail; that because having had an oppor- 
tunity to know all the facts, they fail to testify to precisely the 
same things, that they are all unworthy of your belief, and that 
therefore all their evidence should be discredited and that the whole 
fabric of our case should fail. 

We reply that each witness has truly stated what he knew; that 
one witness may have observed a fact of which the others had no 
knowledge, or that a witness may honestly have failed to state a 
fact within his knowledge because of honest oversight. And we 
assert that an examination of the entire evidence will show that 
respecting the main, essential facts — the facts constituting the real, 
vital issues in the case — our witnesses are in entire agreement. 

Now let me illustrate with an example from sacred history and 
by the application of a simple rule of faith test the soundness of 
their logic and the validity of their argument. 

The four Gospel writers, eye witnesses, and witnesses possessing 
first hand information, tell us of forty-eight parables used by the 
Savior in his teachings. But of the forty-eight parables recorded 
there are none about which they all agree. 

Matthew, Mark and Luke agree on six; Matthew and Mark 
agree on one; Matthew and Luke agree on four; Matthew mentions 
fifteen that are not mentioned by the others; Mark records two 
that the others fail to mention; Luke relates nineteen about which 
the others are silent, while John, from the beginning of his Gospel 
to the end of it attributes but one parable to Christ. None but 
John tells of the beautiful parable of the Shepherd and the sheep; 
none save Matthew tells about the parables of the ten virgins, the 

184 Random Thoughts and the 

beautiful parable that teaches us to watch because we know not 
the day nor the hour when the Son of Man shall come. 

None but Mark tells the parable of the man taking a far journey, 
by which we are taught to take heed and watch and pray, lest com- 
ing suddenly He may find us sleeping; while it remains for Luke 
alone to tell us the touching and instructive parable of the Good 
Samaratan, the sublimest of them all. 

But upon the main, essential fact they all agree. They all agree 
that the Man of Galilee did teach by parable the grandest and 
loftiest lessons of human life. They all agree that "all these things 
spake Jesus unto the multitudes in parables, and without a parable 
spake He not unto them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken 
by the prophet saying, I will open my mouth in parables." 


The gentlemen on the other side have argued to you that because 
some of the witnesses who were present did not testify about some 
of the leading facts involved, and because that among others who 
did testify respecting such facts, some testified in detail and others 
only in substance, and differed somewhat regarding the precise 
language employed, that none of our evidence is worthy to be 
accepted as true, and that, therefore, our case should fail. Now 
let us with a simple but universal rule of faith put to the test the 
correctness of their logic and the soundness of their argument. 

You and I believe in the merciful Redeemer; we believe that the 
blessed Savior walked the hills and plains of Judea, and died to 
redeem the souls of men; we believe that He stood upon the moun- 
tain side beneath the shade of the trees, where the ground was 
carpeted with verdure and flowers, surrounded by His Disciples 
and a great multitude of people who had come from all the 
coasts of Galilee and from Jerusalem and from all Judea to listen 
to his words, and that there He delivered his matchless Sermon 
on the Mount, the sublimest utterance that ever fell from any lips, 
human or divine, in all the tide of time. And we believe with equal 
faith that in that Sermon on the Mount the Savior announced the 
beautiful, golden, unselfish rule. And why do we believe these 
things? Because we accept as true and without question the testi- 
mony of four inspired witnesses who have told to us the facts. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 185 

And yet, only two of them have told us about the Sermon on the 
Mount. Matthew devotes three chapters — over a hundred verses 
to his report of the Sermon; Luke gives the substance of it in 
about thirty verses — less than one chapter all told; while from the 
beginning to the end of their testimony Mark and John mention 
it not at all. 

Matthew and Luke agree that in that Sermon the Savior an- 
nounced the Golden Rule, but they state it in entirely different 
phrase. Luke says it was in these words: "And as ye would that 
men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." But Matthew 
tells us that it was in these words: "Therefore, all things what- 
soever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; 
for this is the law and the prophets." 

Now what becomes of the argument of the gentlemen on the 
other side? If their method of reasoning is correct, then we must 
believe that because of the silence of Mark and John, the Man 
of Galilee never delivered the Sermon on the Mount at all; and 
if their logic is sound, although the Sermon on the Mount may 
have been delivered, the Golden Rule was not included in it because 
Matthew and Luke differ as to the precise language in which it 
was expressed. 

But you and I know that their process of reasoning is not sound 
— that it will not stand the test. You and I will still believe that 
notwithstanding the silence of Mark and John the great Nazarene 
did deliver the Sermon on the Mount as tetsified by Matthew and 
Luke. And you and I will continue to believe that as long as the 
Sermon on the Mount shall constitute the heart of the Christian 
religion, Christianity itself will endure; and you and I will continue 
to believe that notwithstanding the difference in the language 
employed by Matthew and Luke the Son of Man did proclaim 
the Golden Rule, and that as long as it shall constitute the soul 
of the Christian religion, logic will bow at its altars and philosophy 
will worship at its shrine. 


We are told by Roman historians that it was a requirement of 
the Roman law, in case of any extraordinary execution, which was 
usually by crucifixion, to hang above the head of the alleged male- 

186 Random Thoughts and the 

factor an inscription or writing denoting the crime for which he 
suffered. In the Provinces over which the Roman government 
exercised dominion, the law required that this inscription be written 
in the prevailing language of the Province as well as in the Latin 
language. The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus was first tried by 
the Jewish Sanhedrin upon a false charge of blasphemy. Convicted 
in that Court upon false and perjured testimony, he was taken 
before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine, and there 
tried under the Roman law upon the false charge of seditious teach- 
ing against the reigning Caesar. This was a capital crime, under 
the Roman law, and Pilate had jurisdiction to inflict the penalty 
of death; but under the Roman dominion the Hebrew Court had 
been deprived of that power. 

All four of the Gospel writers agree that in conformity to this 
requirement of the Roman law, a writing by Pilate's order was 
fixed above the head of Jesus as He hung upon the Cross. But all 
of them differ as to the exact language the writing contained. 
Matthew says it was in these words: "And they set up over his 
head his accusation written, This is Jesus the King of the Jews." 
Mark says that it was in these words: "And the superscription of 
his accusation was written over, The King of the Jews." Luke 
uses these words: "And a superscription also was written over him 
in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This is the King of 
the Jews." St. John, differing from all the others, tells us that it 
was in these words: "And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the 
Cross. And the writing was, "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the 
Jews;" and John adds that the words were written in Hebrew, and 
Greek and Latin. 

So it will be seen that Matthew refers to the writing as an 
"accusation"; Mark and Luke called it a "superscription"; while 
John speaks of it as a "title". But all of them were right, because 
an accusation means a charge or indictment; superscription means 
an upper writing; that is, something written above something else; 
and title in this connection means the accusation, because it was 
so defined by the Roman law. And they were right about the 
writing itself, for while the Gospel writers differ as to the precise 
language contained in the writing, and only Luke and John say 
that it was written in three languages, the difference is so slight 
that whether you rely on one of them or upon all, your minds will 
unerringly reach the conclusion that the great fact which these 

Musings of a Mountaineer 187 

sacred writers were seeking to establish, was the fact that Jesus 
of Nazareth was tried, condemned and crucified upon an indict- 
ment charging Him with sedition or treason against the Roman 
Emporor, in that it charged Him with having claimed He was King 
of the Jews, while the Jews were subjects of the Roman Empire, 
over which Tiberius reigned as king. 


I have hanging on the walls of my office in Waynesville a picture 
representing a Roman Court assembled nearly two thousand years 
ago, when Justinian and his associates met at the command of the 
Roman Emperor to compile and codify the law of Rome. 

When you look at the picture, at first glance you observe only 
Justinian and his associates, but upon a closer examination, in the 
background, just above the Judge's stand, you will see the picture 
of a woman so beautiful as to make you feel that she must have 
been formed in heaven and then handed down a stairway of stars 
for man to love and cherish forever. 

The same picture appears on my license to practice law, issued 
by the Supreme Court of the United States, and on my license 
from the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and from the Supreme 
Courts of Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee — this 
same picture of this beautiful woman, sitting on a throne, with her 
right hand pointing toward heaven, uplifted as if in supplication 
for mercy, while in her left hand she holds poised a pair of scales 
emblematic of the scales of Justice. It is a picture representing the 
Goddess of Justice, worshipped in ancient times by Pagans who 
had no knowledge of the Christian's God; but who believed that 
this Goddess of Justice presided in the souls of the Judges who 
held in their hands the destiny of those who had to undergo the 
ordeal of a trial for their lives. 

Mythology tells us that this Goddess of Justice was blind when 
she poised her scales; blind to hatred, revenge and vengeance; 
blind to passion, prejudice and sympathy; blind to the faults, the 
failings and frailties of those who were accused; blind to every- 
thing except that which pointed unerringly to the eternal truth. 

Now let us apply this lesson from heathen mythology to the 
facts and the law of this case. It may appear to you that the scales 

188 Random Thoughts and the 

of Justice are first weighed on one side in favor of the prisoner, 
and then on the other side against the prisoner. 

As counsel on either side have put the evidence in these two 
scales, I called to my mind this picture of the blind Goddess of 
Justice of the ancient world holding these two scales with equally 
honest hands. As you watched the scales through the several stages 
of the trial you doubtless thought now and then, that first one 
scale, and then the other had fallen, and then again that they were 
so evenly balanced you could not make up your minds which side 
was lower or higher. 

Then in one scale, in the prisoner's scale, unseen by human eye, 
is placed that over-balancing weight, the weight of the presumption 
of innocence, which the law throws around him like a strong pro- 
tecting arm. 

Now when the balance is so struck that you cannot tell which 
pan is nearest the ground, then it becomes your sworn and solemn 
duty to remember the invisible weight of that invisible substance — 
the right of every man accused of crime to demand the acceptance 
of his innocence until his guilt has been established beyond a 
reasonable doubt; the right of every man accused of crime to de- 
mand an acquittal unless and until an honest jury can honestly say 
that there is no reasonable doubt of his guilt; that on the whole 
evidence there is no reasonable hypothesis consistent with any 
theory of his innocence. Let this human principle of the law be 
your guide; for it is the star whose lustre will guide you to that 
sacred place where justice sits enthroned. 


In all ages of the world there have been places of sanctuary. 
We read in the Bible that around the Holy City there were six 
other cities called Cities of Refuge, and though a man had stained 
his hands with the blood of his fellowman, if he killed him "un- 
awares", and then fled fast enough and got within the gates of the 
City of Refuge, he was safe, because the avenger of blood could 
go no further. 

In ancient times in Greece and Rome, sacred places, and espe- 
cially the temples, and altars of the Gods, were appointed as sanc- 
tuaries to which persons accused of crime, as well as those who 

Musings of a Mountaineer 189 

were unjustly persecuted might flee for refuge; and to molest them 
in these sacred places was regarded as an act of impiety of so 
serious a character as to call for the extreme displeasure of the 
Gods, as well as the penalty of the law. 

In the time of Constantine the Great the churches were made 
sanctuaries, and in the lawless periods of the Middle Ages the 
influence of the church oftentimes prevented deeds of gross injus- 
tice and violence. 

Victor Hugo tells us the story of a trial in the days of the Inqui- 
sition during the Dark Ages in France. A young girl, beautiful 
beyond description, named Esmeralda, was tried for witchcraft in 
front of the Cathedral of the Notre Dame in Paris. There on the 
Judgment Seat sat the Inquisitor who held her destiny in his hands. 
In front of him stood the beautiful, trembling girl, while around 
her roared and raged the mob of Paris, thirsting and howling for 
her blood. When she was asked what she had to say, in her inno- 
cence she replied: "I am not guilty." They bared her beautiful 
limbs and placed upon her knees the instrument of torture and 
pressed it down. She screamed in pain, but in her innocence again 
she cried: "I am not guilty; I will not confess." And again they 
pressed the instrument of torture, and in her anguish, the poor, 
frail nature broke down, and then she said: "I am not guilty, but 
Oh, won't you have mercy on me?" But the cruel Inquisitor was 
one in whose eyes the light of love and mercy was forever quenched, 
and they bared her neck for the executioner's knife, and were 
preparing for their bloody work. 

All this time Quassimodo, the Hunchback bell ringer of Notre 
Dame, was watching this scene from one of the balconies above. 
He let down a rope, and sliding down he grabbed Esmeralda in his 
arms and ran with her along the balcony of Notre Dame crying, 
"Sanctuary, sanctuary, sanctuary." Before him the wild, infuriated 
mob of Paris hesitated and paused, and the bloody hands of the 
mob were stayed, for under the law of France and the law of the 
church no blood-thirsty villian dared violate the sacred precincts 
of the Temple of the Sanctuary under pain of the condemnation 
of both church and State. 

This lesson from sacred and ancient history shows that charity 
for the follies, the errors and crimes of the whole family of imper- 
fect man always and everywhere has been the leading virtue in 


the hearts of law-givers, and rulers, and Judges and juries, and 
all those whose duty it is to administer the divine precepts of 
justice. And gentlemen of the jury, we come to you now as to our 
sanctuary; and this defendant appeals to you to close the doors of 
the Temple against the avenger of blood, for he killed his neigh- 
bor "unawares." 




Just off the coast of North Carolina there are some shoals known 
as Diamond Shoals that have been the cause of many a disastrous 
shipwreck. So dangerous are they that the government of the 
United States maintains there a light-house, together with a life- 
saving station. 

A few years ago the Weather Department at Washington sent 
out a warning to people living along the coast to prepare for the 
worst storm ever known that was coming up from the South. And 
at night-fall it came in all its wild fury, lifting houses from their 
foundations, and leaving death and destruction in its wake. And 
the captain of the Light House sent out his search light and dis- 
covered a ship that had wrecked on Diamond Shoals. 

When the storm approached the ship it seemed to pause and 
hesitate as if the wrecked ship was the object it sought. Havoc 
threatened on every hand. Death and destruction beckoned, and it 
seemed that nature herself was all out of joint. Fierce lightnings 
leapt down from their dark pavilions of cloud; the roar of the 
thunder echoed along the sky, midnight gloom settled down over 
the face of the mighty deep; the wild winds beat with relentless 
fury upon the ill-fated ship, and wave climbed upon wave until 
the affrighted earth rocked and trembled beneath the angry roar 
of the musketry of the winds and the artillery of the skies; but 
while the wild furies of the tempest were rushing out from their 
vapory vaults to harness their thunder-clad steeds to the chariot 
of the winds, the brave captain of that ship stood by his pilot 
wheel and looking defiantly into the face of the angry elements, 
said to them: "You may destroy me or you may save me but I'll 
hold my rudder true." 

And gentlemen of the jury, so it is in this case, for from the 
very hour that this man was first accused until he entered the 

192 Random Thoughts and the 

portals of this Temple of Justice, the sounds of strife, the voice 
of bitterness, the cry of hate and the clamor for vengeance have 
followed him; but now he turns to you as to a safe and peaceful 
haven, with abiding faith that you twelve men will "hold the rud- 
der true"; and that when the dark storm clouds of passion and 
bitterness have passed away, and disappeared, you will see beyond 
the mists the fair, unclouded face of justice, clothed in her garb 
of law, painted upon the heavens like the lustrous image of the 
eternal truth. 


Shakespeare, in the Merchant of Venice, tells us the story of 
Antonio and Shylock. 

Shylock was a rich Jew residing in Venice, whose business was 
that of a money lender under unconscionable contracts upon 
exhorbitant and extortionate rates of interest. Antonio was a young 
merchant of Venice who had on occasion loaned money without 
interest to some of Shylock's victims, thereby enabling them to 
escape from his clutches. For this reason and because Antonio was 
a Christian, Shylock hated him and for a long time had hoped to 
get him in his power. 

The opportunity soon came, for Antonio borrowed from him 
on three months time three thousand ducats, representing some- 
thing over four thousand dollars, and Shylock, in order to secure 
his loan required not only a mortgage covering Antonio's ships and 
their cargoes, then in English waters, and at Tripoli, and in the 
Indies and Mexico, but demanded that the condition be written 
in the bond that if Antonio should fail to pay on the specified day 
and in the specified place, Shylock should have the right to cut off 
and take from Antonio's body that pound of flesh that lay nearest 
his heart. 

And they went to a Notary and the bond was sealed. And then 
a mighty storm came up at sea that raged as if the whole heavens 
were at war. Havoc threatened on every hand; death and destruc- 
tion beckoned, and it seemed that nature herself was all out of 
joint. Fierce lightnings leapt down from their dark pavilions of 
cloud; the wild furies of the tempest rushed out from their vapory 
vaults and harnessed their thunder-clad steeds to the chariot of the 
winds, and wave climbed upon wave until the affrighted earth 

Musings of a Mountaineer 193 

rocked and trembled at the awful uproar of the warning elements, 
and Antonio's ships with all their cargo went down. 

And the bond fell due and Antonio was unable to pay, and 
Shylock went into the Courts of Venice and demanded the full 
penalty of his bond. 

Portia, the beautiful young advocate of Antonio plead for mercy 
in vain, but the hardened nature of Shylock did not relent nor did 
the edge of his knife grow dull even when he was tendered double 
the penalty of his bond in the Venetian Court. He demanded his 
pound of flesh because it was so nominated in the bond; and 
Antonio bared his bosom for Shy lock's knife. 

But Portia again arose and said: "A pound of that same mer- 
chant's flesh is thine; the Court awards it and the law doth give it* 
But hold, Jew; tarry yet a little while, there is something else. The 
bond doth give thee a pound of flesh, but it gives you not a drop 
of blood. Then take thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh, but 
in the cutting of it, if thou dost shed one drop of Christian blood, 
or if thou taketh one poor scruple more than a pound, nay, if the 
scale do turn but in the imitation of a hair, there is a law in Venice 
which says thou shalt die, and all thy goods be confiscated by the 

And so the bloody hand of Shylock was stayed, and he gladly 
offered to accept the return of even the principal of his three 
thousand ducats; but the Judge, under the laws of Venice, awarded 
to Antonio one-half of Shylock's wealth, because, as an alien, he 
sought to take Antonio's life; but Antonio proposed to return it 
to him on condition that he would presently become a Christian. 


In these times of modern progress and enlightenment we have 
drifted away from the rigid requirements of the Mosaic law which 
exacted an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life; 
for after Moses there came Another, under whose dispensation a 
gentler and a milder administration of the criminal law was estab- 

He modified and humanized the rigor of the Mosaic Law. He 
abolished the law of vengeance, for from the Cross itself He for- 
gave his enemies who crucified Him. 

194 Random Thoughts and the 

He taught that they who have the power and yet fail to temper 
justice with mercy have no right to hope for mercy in that great 
Court above the sun in which the only plea that will save them 
from a worse fate than that which awaits this defendant, if you 
shall convict him, will be a plea of mercy. 

He sent ringing down to us through the ages, the positive but 
golden and unselfish command: "Therefore, all things whatsoever 
ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for 
this is the law and the prophets." 

(From Brief in Byers v. Hardwood Company, 201 N. C, 75.) 

When a case like this once gets to a jury they draw no fine dis- 
tinctions anent, "A scintilla of proof, and the weight of the 
evidence", and the corporation defendant might as well haul in its 
sails and desert the ship. What boots it to them that the evidence 
overwhelmingly shows that the intestate killed himself "By an act 
sounding in folly?" 

We look to the jury box as to a sacred shrine, the place where 
human justice holds the scales to measure out the dues of man. 

Attracted by its ancient source and democratic composition, we 
think its lustre is the star that guides us to the sacred place where 
justice sits enthroned. We follow its alluring light with perfect 
trust only to find at last that sympathy oftentimes outweighs the 
most convincing proofs, and our confidence and hopes explode like 
bubbles in the air and are dashed down to dust. Such has been the 
experience of every trial lawyer who defends damage suits brought 
against his corporate clients. 

The Judge will warn the jury in vain; he may caution them that: 

"When passion blows the breeze, 
Let reason guide the helm." 

He may admonish them that in their decision of the issues they 
have no friend to reward and no enemy to punish; he may tell them 
in the language of this Court, in Crenshaw v. Street Railway 
Company, 144 N. C, at page 327, that sympathy "if permitted 
to make it (sympathy) the basis of transferring the property of 

Musings of a Mountaineer 195 

one party to another, great injustice would be done, the foundation 
of the law disturbed, and anarchy result"; but the jury, having 
"ears to hear, hear not" when the voice of sympathy pleads the 

Evidence and the weight of proof go for nothing when one 
arrayed in "widow's weeds" enters the lists against a corporation 
operating a logging railroad. 

The jury may be ever so honest; they may sincerely feel that 
no amount of crying need or claims of sympathy can swerve their 
judgment in the least degree. And yet, it is the experience of every 
trial lawyer that when the crucial test is made, and they see crippled 
innocence oppressed with want seeking relief against defendants 
armed with wealth, they cannot stay the sympathetic hand; and 
thus the rich man finds his wealth weighed against him because of 
his ability to pay; the adult is outweighed by the infant; a woman's 
rights are made greater than the rights of a man, and poverty tips 
the beam when corporate wealth sits on the other scale. 

All will agree that even though the action is brought by the 
widow whose husband has lost his life in the service of a corporate 
defendant, their status should not move the scale the fraction of 
a hair when justice weighs the facts before the law. But what does 
a sympathetic jury care for this? Their heart-throbs stifle reason's 
voice, and the weight of the evidence goes for naught, while with 
lavish hands they divide the gifts of wealth that others have earned, 
and make the rich disgorge to feed those of little means, the strong 
to help the weak, the sterner sex to bear the weaker's load; and 
thus it is they despoil the rich man's purse and make the Court- 
house an Alms House for the poor. 


Circumstantial evidence is evidence of facts and circumstances 
which surround and are connected with the particular facts to be 
proved, and which, taken together, the Court and jury may reason- 
ably consider as proving, or tending to prove or negative the 
ultimate facts sought to be established in the case before them. 

Circumstantial evidence may be of two kinds, consisting either 
of a number of independent links, each depending upon the other, 
in which case it is said that each link must be complete in itself, 

196 Random Thoughts and the 

and that the resulting chain cannot be stronger than its weakest 
link; or it may consist of a number of independent circumstances, 
all pointing in the same direction, in which case the individual 
circumstances may be compared to the strands in a rope, where no 
'one of them may be sufficient in itself, but all together may be 
strong enough to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a 
reasonable doubt, or to establish his innocence as the case may be, 
or to preponderate the scales one way or the other in a civil cause. 

Now let me illustrate. Were we to undertake to lift a heavy 
object weighing two or three tons with a hundred single strands of 
wire all the wires would break; but when they are twisted together 
into a rope or cable of a hundred strands, and one end of the 
cable is attached to the drum of a steam skidder and the other 
to a tree weighing two or three tons we can swing the tree from 
mountain top to mountain top. 

It is not the strength of the individual strands, but the greater 
power of the combined strands in the twisted rope that lifts the 

If all the rills that make the river were to pursue separate and 
independent channels to the sea, the dry earth and the burning 
sands of the desert and the scorching sun above would drink up 
and evaporate the rills; but unite the rills; and a mighty river with 
majestic sweep will flow down through the valleys and across the 
plains carrying upon its limpid surface the treasured cargoes of a 
Nation's commerce. 

One rill will not make a creek nor one creek a river; but when 
the scattered rills and springs and creeks come together, a river is 
formed; and when the rivers congregate, and their waters unite 
and commingle, they constitute the turbulent ocean on whose 
heaving bosom the destinies of the world are determined. 

If you could separate the rays of light, though you might fill 
the earth with rainbow tints yet you would destroy the world's 
beauty and its greatest arts and perhaps life itself. 

A world illumined only by the dim, uncertain light of the in- 
dividual stars, or the pale, shimmering rays of the moon, would 
be a dark and gloomy world indeed; it is only when the rays of 
light are blended in unity that the sun becomes the great central, 
governing body of the solar system, and the chief source of heat 
and warmth and light, making possible life and progress and 
civilization on the earth. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 197 

And as the blazing comet causes all the stars to turn pale as it 
passes, so circumstantial evidence, when its chain is forged into a 
consecutive series of interlocking links, may sweep falsehood before 
the light of truth as night's black shadows, at the first blush of the 
awakening Dawn, flee before the advancing light of the rising sun. 

And so when you were empaneled to try this cause the scales 
was poised, the balances level, and you wondered what the testi- 
mony would disclose. But as the evidence was developed you have 
seen link after link forged in the chain of circumstances until the 
chain is complete and welded together; you have seen the strands 
twisted together into an unbreakable rope and wonder has van- 
ished from your minds like clouds scurrying before the winds. 

Longefellow, in "Evangeline", tells in beautiful blank verse a 
conversation between the Notary Public and the blacksmith in 
which the possibility of injustice and tragedy is pointed out when 
circumstantial evidence alone is relied on. Said the blacksmith: 

"Daily injustice is done, and might is the 

right of the strongest!" 
But without heeding his warmth, continued 

the notary public, — 
"Man is unjust, but God is just; and 

finally justice 
Triumphs; and well I remember a story, 

that often consoled me, 
When as a captive I lay in the old French 

fort at Port Royal." 
This was the old man's favorite tale, and 

he loved to repeat it 
When his neighbors complained that any 

injustice was done them. 
"Once in an ancient city, whose name I no 

longer remember, 
Raised aloft on a column, a brazen statue 

of Justice 
Stood in the public square, upholding the 

scales in its left hand, 
And in its right a sword, as an emblem 

that justice presided 

198 Random Thoughts and the 

Over the laws of the land, and the hearts 

and homes of the people. 
Even the birds had built their nests in the 

scales of the balance, 
Having no fear of the sword that flashed 

In the sunshine above them. 
But in the course of time the laws of the 

land were corrupted; 
Might took the place of right, and the weak 

were oppressed, and the mighty 
Ruled with an iron rod. Then it chanced 

in a nobleman's palace 
That a necklace of pearls was lost, and 

erelong a suspicion 
Fell on an orphan girl who lived as a maid 

in the household. 
She, after form of trial condemned to die 

on the scaffold, 
Patiently met her doom at the foot of the 

statue of Justice. 
As to her father in heaven her innocent 

spirit ascended, 
Lo! o'er the city a tempest arose; and the 

bolts of the thunder 
Smote the statue of bronze, and hurled in 

wrath from its left hand 
Down on the pavement below the clattering 

scales of the balance, 
And in the hollow thereof was found the 

nest of a magpie, 
Into whose clay-built walls the necklace 

of pearls was interwoven!" 


We are told in history that when Napoleon Bonapart, the great 
military hero of France, had led the victorious army of the French 
Empire through Egypt, they encamped one night beneath the 
shadow of the great pyramids. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 199 

And while they were engaged in pitching their tents Napoleon 
was told by one of his soldiers that the place they had selected 
for their camping ground had been recently used as the camping 
ground of a caravan. 

A little later on, as the great man of destiny was walking back 
and forth he overheard an argument between this soldier and 
another, in which they were discussing the great theme of religion, 
and the soldier who had spoken about the caravan was making the 
assertion that there is no God and was urging as a reason for his 
belief that no man had ever beheld his face. And then Napoleon 
interposed and enquired: "My friend, did you not tell me a while 
ago that we had made our camp on the recent camping ground of 
a caravan?" And the soldier admitted that he had; and Napoleon 
enquired: "Well, did you see the caravan?" And the soldier 
admitted that he had not, but replying further said: "But sire, I 
saw the tracks of the camels; I saw the recent imprint of human 
feet; I saw the smouldering ashes of recent camp-fires; I saw the 
tracks, and by means of these tracks I am as fully satisfied and 
convinced that we have camped on a spot recently occupied by a 
caravan, as I would be had I seen it with my own eyes." And then 
Napoleon replied: "Well, my friend, turn and behold with me the 
glories of the setting sun; look back at the grandeur of the rising 
moon; look up at the countless millions of twinkling stars in the 
heavens. These are some of the tracks of God. We feel his power 
in the quiver and tremor and convulsions of the earthquake. We 
recognize his might in the rolling waves of every storm-tossed 
ocean. We behold his frown upon the dark pavilions of every 
storm-cloud. We hear his whisper upon the wings of every passing 
zephyr. We listen to his song in the ever-murmuring anthem of 
the sea. The sunshine is his smile; the thunder is his voice; the 
lightning is his messenger, and when I look upon these forces of 
nature, — the forces of Order and not of Chance, I know that I 
have seen the tracks of God; and this evidence, convinces me of 
His existence as fully as if I had looked upon His majestic face." 


When Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, one of his Disciples, 
Joseph of Arimathea, importuned Pilate to deliver the body to him 

200 Random Thoughts and the 

so that his Master would not be buried in the Potter's Field, the 
customary burial place for criminals who had been condemned. 

In the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in 
the garden a new sepulcher which Joseph had hewn from the 
solid rock for his own resting place, and in which no man had 
ever yet lain. When Joseph and Nicodemus, another of his Dis- 
ciples and friends, had arrayed the body of the crucified Savior in 
the garments of death they buried him in his new made tomb. 

And on the morning of the third day Mary Magdalene, Mary 
the mother of James, and Salome, went to the tomb and found 
it empty. And when Mary Magdalene had carried to the Disciples 
the message of the risen Lord, Peter and John, amazed and unbe- 
lieving, hastened to the place, and they too found an empty tomb. 

Tradition tells us that in the year 326 A. D., the Empress 
Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, directed the excavations 
on the Hill of Golgotha, which resulted in the finding of the Cross 
of Christ, and the holes in the rock where the three crosses had 
been planted; and it is a historic fact that a short time thereafter 
Constantine, the son of Helena and Christian Emperor of Rome, 
erected over the place of the crucifixion and the tomb of Christ 
the church of the Holy Sepulcher, which with the additions made 
from time to time through the passing centuries, has stood there, 
and still stands, like a sentinel, guarding the place where the Savior 
died and the empty tomb in which He was buried. 

I have been to Mount Vernon, and have stood by the open door 
of the tomb of Washington, and I know that within its walls the 
ashes of the Father of his Country rest. 

I have been to the home of Thomas Jefferson, in the mountains 
of his beloved Virginia; I have stood beside his tomb, and with 
uncovered head have read the beautiful epitaph he wrote for him- 
self, and I know that inside that tomb sleep the mortal remains 
of the Sage of Monticello. 

I have stood by the burial place of Robert E. Lee, beneath the 
church he built in his lifetime, and I know that inside that tomb 
the bones of the hero of a hundred bloody battle-fields lie buried. 

And so when the traveler goes to the tomb of Napoleon he knows 
that within that "Magnificent sarcophagus of gilt and gold rest 
the ashes of that restless man", because authentic history tells him 
that the dead body of the Man of Destiny was carried back from 

Musings of a Mountaineer 201 

the lonely Island of St. Helena and buried there on the banks of 
the historic Seine. 

And when the traveler visits Thebes and Karnak and the Valley 
of the Kings in Egypt, he may still go into the subterranean cham- 
bers which the Pharoahs dug more than four thousand years ago 
and there gaze upon the mummified forms of the ancient Egyptian 

But over yonder in far off Jerusalem, beneath the Dome of the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, there is still that empty tomb, where 
for three days the crucified form of a God lay buried; and I ask, 
What does it mean? What does it prove? And as I listen, the 
silence of more than nineteen centuries echoes the answer back 
to me that the Son of Man went with the Pale Monarch into the 
darkness of that silent tomb only to undermine its strongholds; to 
kindle the Star of resurrection in its dismal vaults; to cement the 
past to the future; and then return to that heaven whence He came 
to prepare a place for you and for me. 


The defendant swore that he was coming down the road riding 
a mule. He swore that when he reached this bend in the road he 
met the deceased, who was walking; that the deceased started an 
altercation with him and threatened to cut his throat, and then 
spring toward him with his open knife drawn in striking position 
and in striking distance; that his mule was backed up against the 
bank so that he could not escape, and that he fired the fatal shot 
to save himself. The defendant proved a good character by a 
number of worthy men, and as there were no eye witnesses to the 
homicide the counsel for the defendant insist that his testimony 
must be accepted as true. The uncontradicted evidence is that 
within a short time after this homicide was committeed the witnesses 
for the State were on the ground. They are men of unquestioned 
character; and they swear that the road at the point where the 
defendant says the fatal shot was fired and where the deceased 
fell and was later found, was composed of soft red clay and that 
there was not a mule track on either end of the road within half 
a mile of the place where the defendant himself swears that the 
homicide occurred! 

202 Random Thoughts and the 

Now let us see. Suppose that tonight a ten inch snow should 
fall in Franklin so that everywhere the ground would be covered 
with a mantle of white. Then suppose that tomorrow morning 
before you left your room one of your neighbors — a neighbor who 
had always borne an upright character, were to come to your 
room and tell you that he had seen an elephant enter Main Street 
at the west end of town and walk all the way down the middle of 
the Street to where it connects with the Dillsboro road. Now what 
would be the state of your mind? You would have the statement 
of a man who had always borne a good character. It would be an 
assertion which, although of an unusual occurrence, might be 
true. An elephant could have escaped from a traveling circus and 
roamed around until it reached the town of Franklin. But in order 
to satisfy your mind the natural thing for you to do would be to 
go at once to Main Street and see for yourself whether your 
neighbor had told the truth. Then suppose that when you reached 
Main Street you should find it still wrapped in a blanket of un- 
broken snow, undisturbed by the track of a human being or of a 
bird or of an elephant or anything else? What would the state of 
your mind be then? Of course, the irresistible conclusion would 
be that your neighbor, notwithstanding his good character, had 
told you a deliberate falsehood; for while it is possible that an 
elephant could have escaped and walked down the Main Street 
of Franklin, it is impossible that it could have done so without 
leaving its tracks in ten inches of undisturbed snow! 

And also in this case, while it is possible that this defendant, 
while sitting on the back of his mule, fired the shot that snapped 
out the life of his defenseless victim; yet I know and you know that 
he was not on his mule when he fired that deadly shot, because 
the evidence conclusively shows that there was not a mule track 
within half mile of that fatal spot; and the mule could not have 
been there without leaving its tracks. And so, if the defendant has 
sworn falsely in this particular, by what rule of faith or law or 
logic can you accept his version of any part of this unfortunate 

Musings of a Mountaineer 203 


Not— "How did he die?" 
But— "How did he live?" 
Not— "What did he gain?" 
But— "What did he give?" 

These are the units 
To measure the worth 
Of a man, as a man, 
Regardless of birth. 

Not — "What was his station?" 
But— "Had he a heart?" 
And — "How did he play, 

His God-given part?" 

"Was he ever ready 
With a word of good cheer?" 
"To bring back a smile?" 
"To banish a tear?" 

Not— "What was his church?" 
Nor — "What was his creed?" 
But — "Had he befriended 

Those really in need?" 

Not— "What did the sketch 
In the newspaper say?" 

But — "How many were sorry 
When he passed away?" 

204 Random Thoughts and the 


The child that's neglected and downcast and sad, 

The poor little waif whose heart's never been glad, 

The outcast's forced smile, when you know the heart's 

The appeal from the eye, when not a word's spoken; 
The cringing and slinking of a starving stray cur, 
The poor castaway cat with its pitiful purr; 
The man who's lost out in the battle of life, 
The woman passed by in the hurry and strife; 
The pains and the sorrows of the weak and down-trod — 
To feel for, and help these, is to be near God. 

— Samuel F. Mordacau 


There are two kinds of people on earth today; 

Just two kinds of people, no more I say. 

The two kinds of people on earth, I mean, 

Are the people who lift, and the people who lean. 

Wherever you go you will find the world's masses 
Are always divided in just these two classes. 
And oddly enough, you will find too, I mean 
There is only one lifter to twenty who lean. 

In which class are you? Are you easing the load 
Of over-taxed lifters who toil down the road? 
Or are you a leaner, who lets others bear 
Your portion of labor and worry and care? 

— Author Unknown. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 205 


An old man, going a lone highway, 
Came at the evening, cold and gray, 
To a chasm vast and deep and wide. 
The old man crossed in the twilight dim, 
The sullen stream held no fear for him; 
But he turned when safe on the other side, 
And built a bridge to span the tide. 

"Old man", said a fellow pilgrim near, 

"You're wasting your strength with building here; 

You never again will pass this way; 

You've crossed the chasm deep and wide, 

Why build you this bridge at eventide?" 

The builder lifted his old gray head: 
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said, 
"There followeth after me today 

A Youth whose feet must pass this way. 

This chasm which has been as naught to me, 

To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be; 

He, too, must cross in the twilight dim; 

Good friend, I am building the bridge for him." 

— Miss Will Allen Dromgoole. 


When God conceived the thought of man's creation, He called 
to Him three ministers who constantly wait upon the Throne — 
Justice, Truth and Mercy — and thus addressed them: "Shall we 
make man?" Then said Justice, "O, God, make him not, for he 
will trample upon thy laws." Truth made answer also, "O, God, 
make him not for he will pollute the sanctuaries." But Mercy, 
dropping upon her knees, and looking up through her tears, ex- 
claimed: "O, God, make him, I will watch over him with my care 
through all the dark paths he may have to tread." 

Then God made man and said to him, "O, Man, thou art the 
child of Mercy; go and deal mercifully with thy brother." 

206 Random Thoughts and the 


The great Persian philosopher, Sadi, tells of a man and woman 
who started out together. The days of the man were lighted with 
sunshine, his nights by stars. He reached the end of his journey 
at the gates of God and demanded his reward like a victor. Not 
so the woman. She listened to the allurements of hope and the 
whisperings of love. She wandered through devious ways, where 
her hands were torn and her feet were bruised and her heart was 
made to bleed. She, too, reached the gates at last, not standing, but 
on her knees, not a victor, but as one vanquished. Her only cry 
was: "Lord, be merciful!" The great Master called Amain, the 
Angel of Judgment, to judge her. Amain took the woman away. 
When they returned, her face was radiant, her tears were dry. The 
Master demanded of Amain: "How have you judged her?" He 
said: "Oh, Good Master, as one who was miserable; a woman in 
agony, whose days have been sadness, whose nights all misery!" 
And the Master said: "Stand up, come forth, and be free, for it 
is for such as thou that God gave his strength to men that they 
might take woman by the hand and lead her to where she may hear 
the Christ say, 'Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy 
laden and I will give you rest'." Then the Hosannas of the Angels 
rang out their approval as God exclaimed: "With what judgment 
ye mete out to men, that judgment shall be meted unto you by 
your Father in heaven." 

— American State Trials. 

"She was a woman, worn and thin, 
Whom the world condemned for a single sin. 
They cast her out of the king's highway, 
And passed her by as they went to pray. 

He was a man and more to blame, 

But the world spared him a breath of shame. 

Beneath his feet he saw her lie, 

But he raised his head and passed her by. 

There were the people who went to pray 
At the Temple of God on the holy day. 
They scorned the woman, forgave the man, 
It was ever thus since the world began. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 207 

Time passed on and the woman died, 
And on the cross of shame was crucified, 
But the world was stern and would not yield, 
And they buried her in the potter's field. 

The man died too, and they buried him 
In a casket of cloth with a silver rim, 
And said, as they turned from his grave away, 
"We've buried an honest man today." 

Two mortals knocked at Heaven's gate, 
And stood face to face to inquire their fate. 
He carried a passport with earthly sign, 
And she a pardon from Love Divine. 

O! ye who judge 'twixt virtue and vice, 
Which think ye entered Paradise? 
Not he whom the world had said would win, 
For the woman alone was ushered in." 


"Master of human destinies am I! 
Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait. 
Cities and fields I walk! I penetrate 
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by 
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late 
I knock unbidden once at every gate. 
If sleeping, wake; if feasting rise before 
I turn away. It is the hour of fate, 
And they who follow me reach every foe 
Save death; but those who doubt or hesitate, 
Condemned to failure, penury and woe, 
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore; 
I answer not, and I return no more." 

— Senator John J. Ingalls. 

208 Random Thoughts and the 


"He was down and out, and his pluck was gone, 
And he said to me in a gloomy way: 
Tve wasted my chances one by one, 
And I'm just no good as the people say. 
Nothing ahead and my dreams all dust, 
Though once there was something I might have been, 
But I wasn't game and I broke my trust, 
And I wasn't straight and I wasn't clean.' 

'You're pretty low down', says I to him, 

But nobody's holding you there, my friend, 

Life is a stream where men sink or swim, 

And the drifters came to a sorry end; 

But there's two of you living and breathing still — 

The fellow you are, and he's tough to see. 

And another chap if you've got the will, 

The man that you still have the chance to be.' 

He laughed with scorn, 'Is there two of me?" 

I thought I had murdered the other one. 

I once knew a chap that I hoped to be, 

And he was decent but now he's gone.' 

'Well,' says I, 'It may seem to you 

That life has little of joy in store. 

But there's always something you still can do, 

And there's never a man but can try once more. 

There are always two till the end of time — 

The fellow you are and the future man. 

The Lord never meant you should cease to climb 

And you can get up if you think you can. 

The fellow you are is a sorry sight; 

But you needn't go drifting out to sea, 

Get hold of yourself and travel right; 

There's a fellow you've still got a chance to be'." 

— Author Unknown. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 209 


Did you tackle the trouble that came your way 

With a resolute heart and cheerful 

Or hide your face from the light of day 

With a craven heart, and fearful? 

Oh, a trouble's a ton or a trouble's an ounce, 

Or trouble is what you make it; 

And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts, 

But only how did you take it. 

You're beaten to earth, well, well, what's that? 

Come up with a smiling face. 

It's nothing against you to fall down flat, 

But to lie there — that's disgrace. 

The harder you're thrown, why, the higher you bounce; 

Be proud of your blackened eye. 

It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts, 

It's how did you fight, and why? 

And though you be done to death, what then? 

If you battled the best you could; 

If you played your part in the world of men, 

Why the critics will call it good. 

Death comes with a crawl or comes with a pounce, 

And whether he's slow or spry, 

It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts, 

But only how did you die. 

— Edmund Vance Cook' 


As a dead year is clsaped in a dead December, 
So let your dead sins with your dead days lie. 
A new life is yours and a new hope. Remember 
We build our ladders to climb to the sky. 

210 Random Thoughts and the 

Stand out in the sunlight of promise, forgetting, 
Whatever the past held of sorrow or wrong. 
We waste half our strength in useless regretting; 
We sit by old tombs in the dark too long. 

Have you missed in your aim? Well, the mark is still shining. 
Did you faint in the race? Well, take breath for the next. 
Did the clouds drive you back? But see yonder lining. 
Were you tempted and fell? Let it serve as a text. 

It is never too late to begin rebuilding 
Though all into ruins your life has been hurled, 
For see how the light of the New Year is gilding 
The wan, worn face of the bruised old world. 

— Author Unknown. 


If to grumbling you are inclined 
Every time a plan goes wrong, 
Grumble on and ease your mind, 
But keep plodding right along. 
Grit your teeth and wear a frown, 
But keep walking straight ahead. 
There's no use in lying down 
Till it's time to go to bed. 

If ill luck has come your way, 
Keep on fighting as you sigh; 
While with wailing loss you stay 
Life's parade goes marching by. 
Never mind what's come and gone, 
Waste no time on chances fled; 
Forward march and carry on 
Do your lying down in bed. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 211 

When misfortune deals a blow, 
Be your body bruised and black, 
There is just one way to go; 
There can be no turning back. 
While you've strength to walk the town 
Stand up straight and look ahead, 
There's no sense in lying down 
Till it's time to go to bed. 

— Edgar A. Guest. 


The test of a man is the fight he makes, 
The grit that he daily shows; 
The way that he stands on his feet and takes 
Fate's numerous bumbs and blows. 

The coward can smile when there's naught to fear, 
And nothing his progress bars; 
But it takes a man to stand up and cheer, 
While some other fellow stars. 

It isn't the victory after all, 
But the fight that a human makes; 
The man, who, driven against the wall, 
Stands erect and takes 

The blows of fate with his head held high, 
Bleeding and bruised and pale, 
Is the man who'll win in the by and by, 
For he isn't afraid to fail. 

It's the bumps we take and the jolts we get 
And the shock that our courage stands; 
The hours of sorrow and vain regret, 
And the prize that escapes our hands, 

That test our metal and prove our worth; 
It isn't the blows we deal, 
But the blows we take on this good old earth 
Which prove that life is real. 

— Edgar A. Guest. 

212 Random Thoughts and the 


After an American soldier had been killed in France, his pockets 
were examined, and the following lines, sweet as childhood's kisses 
and sad as the tears of sorrow, written in his own handwriting, 
were found: 

"When my sun of life is low, 
When the dewy shadows creep, 
Say for me before I go, 
'Now I lay me down to sleep.' 

I am at the journey's end, 
I have sown and I must reap, 
There are no more ways to mend — 
'Now I lay me down to sleep.' 

Nothing more to doubt or dare, 
Nothing more to give or keep, 
Say for me the children's prayer: 
'Now I lay me down to sleep.' 

Who has learned along the way, — 
Primrose path or stony steep, — 
More of wisdom than to say: 
'Now I lay me down to sleep.' 

What have you more wise to tell, 
When the shadows 'round me creep, 
All is over, all is well, 
'Now I lay me down to sleep'." 


Forget each kindness that you do as soon as you 

have done it; 
Forget the praise that falls to you the moment 

you have won it; 
Forget the slander that you hear before you can 

repeat it; 
Forget each slight, each spite, each sneer, wherever 

you may meet it. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 213 

Remember every kindness done to you whate'er 

its measure; 
Remember praise by others won and pass it on 

with pleasure; 
Remember every promise made and keep it to the 

Remember those who lend you aid and be a grateful 


Remember all the happiness that comes your way 

in living; 
Forget each worry and distress, be hopeful 

and forgiving; 
Remember good, remember truth, remember heaven's 

above you, 
And you will find, through age and youth, that many 

hearts will love you. 

— Author Unknown. 


Laugh, and the world laughs with you; 

Weep, and you weep alone. 
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, 

But has trouble enough of its own. 
Sing, and the hills will answer; 

Sigh, it is lost on the air. 
The echoes bound to a joyful sound, 

But shrink from voicing care. 

Rejoice, and men will seek you; 

Grieve, and they turn and go. 
They want full measure of all your pleasure, 

But they do not need your woe. 
Be glad, and your friends are many; 

Be sad, and you lose them all. 
There are none to decline your nectared wine, 

But alone you must drink life's gall. 


Feast, and your halls are crowded; 

Fast, and the world goes by. 
Succeed and give, and it helps you live, 

But no man can help you die. 
There is room in the halls of pleasure 

For a long and lordly train, 
But one by one we must all file on 

Through the narrow aisles of pain. 

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox. 



And that ye may prolong your days in the land 
which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give 
unto them and their seed, a land that floweth with 
milk and honey . . . But the land, whither ye go to 
possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drink- 
eth the water of the rain of heaven; a land which 
the Lord thy God careth for; the eyes of the Lord 
thy God are always upon it, from the beginning 
of the year even unto the end of the year. 

Deuteronomy, Chapter 12: 9, 12. 

For a long time it has been my purpose to write something about 
the origin, character, characteristics, development and progress of 
the Western North Carolina Mountaineers. In recent years many 
newspaper and magazine articles have appeared, and several books 
have been written about our mountain people. I have read all of 
them, and I make bold to assert that these articles and books 
furnish abundant and convincing internal proof that their authors 
had not possessed themselves of the facts, or if they knew the facts 
that would truly portray the character and condition of our people, 
they did not care whether the pictures which they attempted to 
paint represented truth or falsehood. The newspaper and magazine 
aricles that I have read are based upon prejudiced hearsay, and, 
with very few exceptions, the authors of theese books and articles, 
at the very most, spent only a few weeks or months in the moun- 
tains, and with such limited opportunities for acquiring correct 
information could not possibly write true picture of our moun- 
taineers, and, therefore, could not qualify to offer reliable opinions 
or judgments about them. 

Horace Kephart, the author of "Our Southern Highlanders", 
who lived for about eighteen years in Swain County, and Miss 
Margaret Morley, of Boston, the author of "The Carolina Moun- 
tains", who spent sufficient time here — ten or twelve years — to 

216 Random Thoughts and the 

enable her to visit most of our mountains, have written by far the 
best books that have been written about our mountain section. 

Both of them tell us more about the mountains, their altitude, 
their fauna and flora, and especially their trees and shrubs and 
flowers than our own people ever knew from any other sources. 
Both of them testify to the inherent integrity, honesty, and fine 
rugged character of our mountaineers, but they, like all other 
writers about our people, assert repeatedly that we are still living 
in the early days of the eighteenth century; that we know nothing 
of the great world beyond the rim of the mountains, and both 
of them describe conditions among those whom they are pleased 
to designate as the typical, average mountaineer — the masses — 
which I know of my own knowledge never did exist, except perhaps 
in rare isolated instances, or in the overwrought imaginations of the 
writers themselves. (For example, Mr. Kephart, in his "Our South- 
ern Highlanders", at page 321, tells us that, "When speaking of 
Southern mountaineers I mean the mass, or the average, and the 
pictures here presented are typical of that mass." Miss Morley, in 
"The Carolina Mountains", tells at page 163: "When looking at 
the average highlander, with his bent back, his narrow shoulders 
and lean frame, one suspects that back of everything the people 
are starving — not so much physically as mentally and spiritually.") 
Miss Mor ley's book was published in 1912, at a time in our history 
when we proudly boasted that every setting sun shone upon the 
last touch of paint placed upon a modern school building in our 
section; and the last edition of Mr. Kephart's book was published 
in 1926, at a time when a concrete highway, leading from Beaufort 
to Murphy, ran within six feet of the steps of the hotel in which 
he lived in health and comfort for eighteen years in the thriving 
and progressive town of Bryson City; and when every Township 
in Swain County was connected with modern highways. 

They, like all other writers about our people, write to be inter- 
esting and not to tell the truth; their primary object, with respect 
to what they say about our mountaineers being, to write books that 
would sell in he North; because they knew that if they had written 
the truth about our people they would have written the same story 
that would be true of the people of any other rural section in the 
United States, although it is my belief that they could with pro- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 217 

priety and truth have said that the average of our citizenship is 
above the average in rural sections anywhere else. 

I have a friend in Jackson County, Jacob Stuart by name, who 
worked with me on my father's farm before I was grown. We 
formed a friendship then that has ripened with the years. He is a 
prosperous farmer, and by his industry and thrift he and his family 
have always lived in comfort. After I came to the Bar I rendered 
him professional services on several occasions for which I declined 
to accept compensation. Some years ago when I was attending 
Court in Jackson County, my friend came to me in great distress. 
He had signed an appearance bond for a young man who was 
indicted for a misdemeanor; but he failed to appear in pursuance 
of the requirements of the bond and the bond was forfeited and 
a judgment of $500.00 had been rendered against my friend Stuart, 
and now execution had been issued to enforce its collection. I made 
an investigation and found that a day or two after this judgment 
had been rendered the defendant came in, stood his trial and was 
acquitted. Upon filing a petition and motion I obtained a decree 
striking out and cancelling this judgment against my friend. He 
desired at once to know the amount of my fee. I told him I would 
not accept any compensation, but would charge it to old times' sake. 
Then, after expressing his deep gratitude, he said: "You and your 
boys are always doing me some service without charge. Now, I 
want to say that if you ever do want me to do anything for you, 
I will do anything you ask of me except to swear a durned lie for 
you; but if you should ever need me to swear for you I would be 
willing to swear a little to the rise of the truth!" 

I am not an extensively traveled man; but in recent years I have 
had the opportunity to travel over some twenty-two of our States, 
largely by automobile, and I have seen many people — white, black, 
red, brown, yellow, and green, from every civilized land on earth; 
and if I were called upon to make a comparison I would say that 
the average citizenship of our mountain section is "a little to the 
rise" of any that I have had the opportunity to observe elsewhere. 

Later on, in the forthcoming pages I shall call attention to many 
statements in these books and periodicals that are not only mislead- 
ing but have no basis in fact. They are filled with the pictures of 
old dilapidated log cabins, and the assertion is repeated many times 
that these cabins constitute the typical homes of the typical moun- 
taineers in Western North Carolina. But they have no pictures of 

218 Random Thoughts and the 

the handsome residences, the beautiful cottages and splendid homes 
that adorn the towns and countrysides. They make no mention of 
the fine, modern school buildings in every community in which 
eight months' schools with an ample corps of competent teachers, 
are conducted every year. 

They say nothing of the imposing churches that crown the hills, 
into which our people are wont to go, in humility of spirit and with 
contrite hearts, to worship the God they adore. 

They speak not of our distinguished men — mountain-bred and 
mountain-born and mountain-reared — who have acquired State- 
wide reputations and national fame. 

They are silent about the average men and women of the moun- 
tains — the common people or middle class — the record of whose 
lives and achievements constitutes the true history of our moun- 
taineers, just as such records constitute the true history of the 
people of every civilized land. Contrary to law, logic, and justice, 
they undertake to prove the general rule by citing the exceptions 
to it. 

I do not for a moment claim that I am qualified to write the 
story of our mountain people as it deserves to be written. But I 
believe I can, with pardonable assurance, assert the claim that I 
know infinitely more about our mountain section and the people 
who dwell therein, than Mr. Kephart, or Miss Morley, or any other 
person who has so far essayed to tell the world about either. If I 
am willing to admit, as I have no hesitation in doing, that I do not 
possess the educational qualifications and literary skill necessary 
to enable me to do full justice to my subject, I know, that without 
unseemly egotism, I may claim that my age, observation, and 
experience at least qualify me as a competent witness. 

Let us see. Sixty-six years ago today I was born within the 
shadows of one of our high and majestic mountains — Whiteside — 
whose rugged cliffs and crags rise above the clouds at an altitude 
of 5,400 feet. For sixty-six years I have lived and labored among 
our templed hills, except for the time that I have been temporarily 
absent on political, professional, or official business. Through these 
years I have visited practically every community in all the mountain 
Counties; and I am almost as familiar with them as I am with my 
own front yard. 

I have delivered education addresses, political speeches, and 
religious lectures in most of the school houses, in all of the Court- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 219 

houses, and in many of the churches. I have often appeared in 
important lawsuits in most of the mountain Counties, and have 
presided many times in the Courts of all of them. I have been 
entertained, with hospitality fit for a King, in many hundreds of 
our mountain homes, from the poorest and humblest to the richest 
and most prosperous. 

I have had countless professional, official, and social relations 
and contacts with unnumbered thousands of my mountain neigh- 
bors; and I unhesitatingly assert that at no time in my sixty-six 
years of life, and at no place that I have visited in any of our 
mountain Counties, have I ever observed or heard of the conditions 
of poverty, want, ignorance, desolation, and distress, such as are 
related in the books of Mr. Kephart, Miss Morley, and in the other 
books and periodicals that I have read about the people of the 
Carolina Mountains. 

Then, what of the country in which the Carolina Mountaineers 

When the first settlers came to the mountains, the State of North 
Carolina embraced the entire Blue Ridge Range from Virginia to 
South Carolina and Georgia; all of the Unaka Range from the 
Virginia line to the Georgia line, and the South side of the Cum- 

After our State ceded to the United States the territory now 
embraced within the State of Tennessee, the Northern side of the 
Unaka Range and the Southern side of the Cumberlands became 
Tennessee Territory. This occurred by virtue of the Deed of Cession 
from the State of North Carolina to the United States covering 
the present State of Tennessee, dated February 25, 1790. The 
description in this Deed of Cession states that it follows Iron 
Mountain to where Nolichucky River runs through the same; 
thence to the top of the Bald; thence along the extreme height of 
said mountain to the Painted Rocks on the French Broad River; 
thence along the ridge of said mountain to the place where it is 
called the great Iron or Smoky Mountains (now within the Great 
Smoky Mountains National Park) ; thence along the extreme height 
of the said Mountain to the place where it is called Unicoi or 
Unaka Mountain between the Indian towns of Cowee and old 
Chota; thence along the main ridge of said Mountain to the 
Southern boundary of this State, etc. (See History of Land Titles 
in Western North Carolina, by George H. Smathers, at page 21.) 

220 Random Thoughts and the 

With respect to the Counties in North Carolina that should be 
included in the term, "Carolina Mountains", there are differing 

On the editorial page of the Asheville Citizen, in its issue of 
September 4, 1938, under the heading, "Some Comparisons", the 
size of the mountain section of North Carolina, as therein defined, 
is compared with several States of the American Union, certain 
European Countries, and other countries of the world. It is there 
shown that the twenty-three Counties mentioned, have a combined 
total area of 9,254 square miles, and is larger than Massachusetts, 
New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, 
or Connecticut. It is nearly twice as large as Connecticut, and is 
but little smaller than New Jersey and Delaware combined; while 
Maryland is but slightly larger. This comparison also shows that 
our section is more than one hundred and forty-two times as large 
as the European Kingdom Liechtenstein; that our section is nine 
times larger than Luxembourg; larger than either Wales or British 
Honduras; nearly as large as Palestine or Sicily; three- fourths as 
large as Holland; three-fifths the size of Switzerland, and nearly 
as large as Belgium. In making this comparison the combined area 
of the following twenty- three Counties was included: Allegheny, 
Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, 
Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, 
McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Wa- 
tauga and Yancey. 

I do not agree to the above classification of mountain Coun- 
ties. There is no more reason for including Catawba in the list of 
mountain Counties than there would be to include, Cleveland, or 
Lincoln, or Alexander, or any other County in the Piedmont section 
which lies beyond the base of the mountains. So, leaving Catawba 
out of the list, I maintain that Wilkes, Surry and Stokes should be 
included. There exists the same reason for designating the three 
last named as "Mountain Counties", as the reasons which make 
proper the inclusion of Caldwell, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford 
and Watauga, namely, that the western and northern boundaries 
of all of them extend to the top of the Blue Ridge. 

Stokes County covers less of the Blue Ridge than any of the 
others mentioned, but it is as mountainous as Haywood, and boasts 
a separate mountain range of its own — the Sauerton Range — so 
named for a tribe of Indians occupying the adjacent territory in 

Musings of a Mountaineer 221 

the long ago. While it is referred to as a separate, distinct range 
of mountains, it is undoubtedly a part of the Blue Ridge Range. 
The towering cliffs are of the same color and character and the 
blue haze that is always present in the Blue Ridge Range, and from 
which it derived its name, is present here also. Moore's Knob, 
toward the eastern end of the range is 2085 feet high, being one 
hundred feet higher than Asheville, which is 1985 feet; while Pilot 
Knob, at the western end, stands like a great round, black tower 
at an elevation of 2700 feet. 

Surry County is much more rolling and hilly than Cherokee, 
and extends to the top of the Blue Ridge at an altitude of 4050 feet 
at Fisher's Peak. Wilkes County is as mountainous as Macon, and 
it also has a mountain range of its own — the Brushy Mountains — 
a spur of the Blue Ridge, which extends clear across the County 
into Alexander. 

These three additional Counties, which I include in my desig- 
nations of the "Carolina Mountains", were settled by the same 
stock of people who later settled the other mountain Counties — 
Scotch-Irish and English — to which were still later added large 
numbers of Dutch people who came down from Pennsylvania; 
while most of the Counties to the South and East, throughout the 
Piedmont, had a large sprinkling of Germans, Moravians, and 
Quakers in addition to their Scotch-Irish, English, and Dutch 

When Wilkes, Surry and Stokes are added to the list of Moun- 
tain Counties mentioned by the Asheville Citizen, with Catawba 
out, the real mountain section of the State includes twenty-five 
Counties, containing 10,587 square miles, with a population, ac- 
cording to the 1940 census of 640,575. 

The Unaka Range, so named by the United States Geological 
Survey, constitutes the boundary line between North Carolina and 
Tennessee. This range is cut into mountains of separate names by 
several rivers which have their source on the western and northern 
slopes of the Blue Ridge — the Nolochucky, which is formed by 
the Cane River and the North and South Toe; the French Broad, 
the Pigeon, the Little Tennessee, and the Hiawassee, which, with 
their numerous tributaries, drain all the land between the Blue 
Ridge and the Unaka Ranges. 

The several mountains constituting the Unaka Range, thus sep- 
arated by the Rivers named, are known as the Iron, the Northern 

222 Random Thoughts and the 

Unaka, the Bald, the Great Smoky, and the Southern Unaka 
or Unicoi Mountains. Both the Unaka and the Blue Ridge Ranges 
extend in a Northeast and Southwest direction, but they are 
connected by a number of cross Ranges which extend more nearly 
Northwest and Southeast — the Tusquittee, the Nantahala, the 
Cowee, the Balsam, the Pisgah, the Newfound, the Black, the 
Yellow, the Roan, the Beach, and the Stone, with well-nigh in- 
numerable smaller mountains and ridges between. 

The Unaka Range has one hundred and twenty-five peaks that 
are above 5,000 feet high and ten that are above 6,000 feet in 
elevation. The cross ranges above mentioned have, all told, one 
hundred and fifty-six summits which rise above 5,000 feet, and 
thirty-six that are above 6,000 feet above the level of the sea. In 
the Balsam Range alone there are fifteen summits exceeding 6,000 
feet in altitude. 

Mr. Kephart says that the Blue Ridge from beginning to end, 
has but seven peaks that rise above 5,000 feet; but in this I know 
he is mistaken. Only a few days ago I went just across the Ashe 
County line into Grayson County, Virginia, to the top of White 
Top Mountain, which is 5678 feet above sea level, and just over to 
the East of it, four or five miles, is Mount Rogers or the Big 
Balsam, which has an elevation of 5719 feet. From the top of the 
first named, you see the Roan, marking the boundary line between 
North Carolina and Tennessee. Still looking to the West, and in 
plain view, are the Grandfather in Avery County, Elk Knob in 
Watauga, and Pound Mountain in Ashe; the Northern Unaka, 
the Iron and the Walker Ranges. To the Northwest, plainly visible, 
are the higher mountains of West Virginia, and just North of 
Independence, Virginia, stands Point Lookout. Also over to the 
East are the mountains in Allegheny County — Feeder's Mountain, 
Taylor's Mountain, Cheek's Mountain, and Bull Head, ranging 
from 4,000 to 4,500 feet in height. 

In Ashe County, as I have been told by several who have lived 
there from Childhood, the Peak and Bluff Mountains are both 
about 5,000 feet, while the Niger near by and immediately to the 
South of Jefferson is 4784 feet high. Elk Knob, in Watauga 
County, is well above 5,000 feet, and the Grandfather in Avery is 
5914 feet above sea level. 

Whiteside, in Jackson County, is 5400 feet, and I have always 
been told that Mount Toxaway, or the Great Hogback, in Transyl- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 223 

vania County is higher than Whiteside; while Standing Indian in 
Macon County is 5563 feet, and just across the Georgia line in 
Rabun County is Rabun Bald, which reaches an altitude of 6,000 
feet. So, if I have been correctly informed, there are ten peaks in 
the Blue Ridge that reach an elevation of over 5,000 feet, instead 
of seven as contended by Mr. Kephart, if we include the two 
mentioned just across the Virginia line and the one just over 
on the Georgia side. 

There are many of these summits upon which you may stand 
and see the higher peaks in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Ranges, and 
the cross ranges between. From Wayah Bald, in the Nantahalas, 
you can see the higher peaks in nine different Counties, including 
Rabun Bald in Georgia, and on some of the higher summits in the 
Balsam Range you can see a much greater number, including 
Mount Mitchell, the highest of them all, which has an altitude of 
6711 feet, and is the highest mountain East of the Rockies. 

Until comparatively recent years it was everywhere understood, 
and was so taught in the school geographies, that Mount Washing- 
ton in New Hampshire, which has an elevation of 6,293 feet, was 
the highest mountain in Eastern America. But in our own mountain 
section there are forty-six peaks and forty-one miles of intersecting 
ridges, that reach above 6,000 feet, and two hundred and eighty- 
eight mountains and some three hundred miles of dividing ridges 
that stand more than 5,000 feet above sea level. 

We have more than 6,000 square miles of mountains, with an 
average elevation of 2700 feet, and twenty peaks that are higher 
than Mount Washington. 

The Blue Ridge Range, although much lower than the Unaka 
Range and the short ranges that connect the two, constitutes the 
watershed for our entire mountain section. The streams which 
have their sources on the Southern and Eastern slopes flow through 
parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and 
finally wind their tortuous courses into the Atlantic; but on its 
Northern and Western slopes there are hundreds of creeks and 
thousands of brooks and rivulets, with current swift as the rushing 
winds, foaming and roaring over the smaller cliffs, until many of 
them dash headlong from the summits of overhanging precipices 
hundreds of feet in elevation. These streams flow through the 
central plateaus and down through the valleys, and then under the 
names of the Toe, the French Broad, the Pigeon, the Little Ten- 

224 Random Thoughts and the 

nessee, and the Hiawassee, cut their way through the Unaka Range 
in dark gorges and deep ravines, until at last they reach the 
Tennessee, and then flow into the Ohio, and then empty into the 
Mississippi, to be carried on its mighty current into the Gulf of 

Miss Margaret Morley, in "The Carolina Mountains", at page 
105, says that there is one river that breaks through the wall of the 
Blue Ridge and finds its way Eastward to the Atlantic. I respect- 
fully submit that Miss Morley is mistaken in this assertion. Mr. 
Kephart, in "Our Southern Highlanders", at page 26 asserts that 
no one river cuts through the Blue Ridge to flow Eastward to the 
sea, but that to the contrary all of them finally flow into the 
Mexican Gulf. I am sure that Mr. Kephart is correct in this state- 
ment, for I have traveled on both sides of the Blue Ridge, all the 
way through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and 
Georgia, and have crossed the Ridge at scores of places in all these 
States, and I have yet to see a stream or to hear of one rising on 
its Northern or Western slope, and then cutting through to join 
the waters that flow into the Atlantic. 

Our mountain region is one of the best watered regions in the 
world. The average rain-fall here is said to be greater than in any 
other section in the United States except in the country around 
Puget Sound in the Northwestern part of the State of Washington, 
and in the State of Florida. 

In Florida, however, at Key West, the southernmost of the 
Florida Keys, it has registered as low as 22 inches; while here in 
our mountains the lowest recorded was 42 inches at Asheville, 
and on the Southern slopes of the Blue Ridge as high as 105 
inches of rain-fall has been recorded in a single year; the average 
for the entire region being 73 inches a year. 

When our pioneer ancestors crossed the Blue Ridge and the 
Unakas to settle our great mountain land, they found a vast, wild, 
and unexplored wilderness. The rich and fertile valleys — as rich 
as the Valley of the Nile — where now flourish well-kept farms, 
beautiful gardens, waving meadows, and modern homes, were then 
covered by primeval forests. And this fertility was not confined 
to the valleys alone. It extended through the ravines, over the 
ridges and clear to the mountain tops as attested then and now by 
the size and height of the stalwart oaks, the stately pines, the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 225 

magnificent poplars, and the majestic spruce, as well as the density 
and variety of other trees that adorn their slopes. 

Then as now, the summits of the rugged hills and the lofty 
peaks of the towering mountains, waved in indescribable grandeur 
before the balmy breezes, their luxuriant crops of wild flowers and 
blossoming shrubs. 

It has often been said by men who know the whole country, that 
there is a greater variety of merchantable timber in Western 
North Carolina than at any other place in the temperate zone. It 
is said that in our mountains there are at least one hundred and 
fifty different species of native trees that grow sufficiently large to 
be manufactured into lumber, one hundred and twenty different 
species growing in the Smoky Mountains alone. Mr. Kephart says 
at page 54 of "Our Southern Highlanders", that "When Asa 
Gray visited the North Carolina Mountains, he identified, in a 
thirty-mile trip, a greater variety of indigenous trees than could 
be observed in crossing Europe from England to Turkey, or in a 
trip from Boston to the Rocky Mountain plateau." Mr. Kephart 
also states at page 53: "In this region nearly all trees attain their 
fullest development. On North fronts the oaks reach a diameter 
of five or six feet. In cool, rich coves, chestnut trees grow from 
six to nine feet across the stump; and tulip poplars up to ten or 
eleven feet, their straight trunks towering like gigantic columns, 
with scarcely a noticeable taper, seventy or eighty feet to the 
nearest limb." 

From my own observation I do not believe that the above state- 
ment is an exaggeration; and in Sondley's "History of Buncombe 
County", Volume 2, at page 571 and 572, I find the following 
statements: "There is a tulip tree, or poplar, near the Pigeon River 
in Haywood County, North Carolina, about eight miles from the 
Tennessee line, thirty-three feet in circumference at three feet from 
the ground, or eleven feet in diameter, and upwards of one hundred 
feet high. Another, on the Western slope of the Smoky Mountains 
in Tennessee, on the Little Pigeon River, is twenty-nine feet in 
circumference, four feet from the ground. About two miles farther 
up the same stream there is a hemlock, or spruce pine, nineteen 
feet and two inches in circumference at four feet from the base. 
On Jonathan's Creek (in Haywood County, North Carolina) 
there is a white oak nineteen feet in circumference at three feet 
from the ground. This list of large trees could be greatly extended, 

226 Random Thoughts and the 

but enough have already been cited to show the richness of those 
coves and valleys. The newspapers reported that on Saturday, 
August 9, 1930, at Murphy, in Cherokee County, North Carolina, 
a severe wind storm blew down in that town a white oak tree six 
or seven feet in diameter." 

But sublime and majestic as are our wonderful mountains; en- 
chanting and alluring as are our emerald-crowned forests; broad 
and extensive as are our fertile valleys; and glistening and spark- 
ling as are our swiftly-gliding rivers and silvery streamlets, the 
surpassing beauty of the mountains is seen in the kingdom of wild 
flowers; for when Winter has folded his tent, wrapped himself 
in his mantle of snow and retired to his home on the shores of the 
far-off frozen zone, and spring has come to blow her mellow horn, 
at the persuasive touch of April's showers and sunshine, the peach 
trees and the dogwoods burst into bloom; the beautiful, fragrant, 
trailing arbutus sends forth its white and pink blossoms to carpet 
the woods; and the red bud on the Eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge 
hangs its pink on the forested hills. And from that time on until 
all verdure and flowers wither and die at the first touch of "the 
North Wind's breath", the entire mountain world is one vast 
flower garden. With a back-ground of dark blue encircling the 
hills, a sea of color spreads out to the farthest horizons; yellow 
and white, scarlet and blue, pink and lavender, orange and purple, 
crimson and orchid, and all the colors between are scattered every- 
where in confusion, but blended and softened into perfect harmony 
of hue and design, in an amazing variety of flowers too numerous 
to be mentioned here. 

And even after the killing frost arrives, the mountains, if pos- 
sible, are more beautiful still; for then Autumn's glory, with its 
Indian Summer, cloudless skies, and hazy atmosphere, broods like 
a gentle spirit over the land. Then every hill is on fire with colors 
made brilliant by the flashing rays of the Autumn sun. Here a 
tree will be crowned with blazing yellow, and there another with 
gleaming gold; others will be attired in brilliant red and purple, 
and others still in all the tints and shades between, so that every 
hill and mountain top seems to be glorified by all the resplendent 
colors of the rainbow — a picture painted by the unseen Hand of 
the Divine Painter Himself, and set in this high wilderness as if 
for His own contemplation, and equalled only in the molten and 
empurpled splendor of His sunset skies. The seductive mystery 

Musings of a Mountaineer 227 

of the entire section is beyond the power of words to describe. The 
wonderful outlook of wide valleys, bounded in every direction by 
tree-clad hills, opens a world that seems to terminate abruptly every- 
where, yet to go on in an endless series of verdant valleys and 
rushing streams. The darkling wood-belts creep up the hill-sides 
deep in mysterious shadows, until at last they penetrate the low- 
hanging clouds, the crowning glory of the higher peaks. 

Never was there a region more beautiful than this mountain 
wilderness. Hill and valley, timberland and thicket, meadow and 
"bald-spots", wild grass land and naked cliffs, abound on every 
hand in happy ditsribution of light and color. 

I have stood upon the summits of our higher elevations, and 
there beheld hundreds of the surrounding mountains, some large 
and others small, some with names and others nameless, separated 
by broad valleys and narrow gorges; and the thought has occurred 
to me that when the Divine Builder, in His grand process of Cre- 
ation, passed over this part of the world, He paused but a moment 
to throw together in confused disorder our wonderful mountain 
land; but since the completion of our magnificent system of high- 
ways and community roads, I have had the privilege of visiting 
even the remotest sections of our mountains everywhere, and have 
seen a different prospect at every turn of every road; and now I 
see in it all a Design too perfect for human comprehension. To 
me its contemplation suggests the untold wealth of the Infinite 
Universe. It inspires in my heart a reverence so profound that it 
leaves scarce a place for the smallness of earthly hopes and yearn- 
ings. Its natural wealth, its ruggedness and vastness, its matchless 
splendor, and its lavishness of beauty, sink into my soul and leave 
my spirit straining at its earthly bonds to gaze with longing eyes 
toward the Infinate Power which ordered its existence. 

I have been told that a man who had traveled extensively in all 
the other countries of the world, completed his tour by a visit to all 
the mountain Counties of North Carolina; and when he had seen 
them all he said he believed that when God created the world He 
created Western North Carolina first, and that He then lost His 
model, and so did not attempt to duplicate our section anywhere 
else on earth. I respectfully dissent from that gentleman's opinion. 
More pleasing to me than his suggestion is the thought, that when 
the great Architect of the Universe had created all the other por- 
tions of the earth, He looked upon His handiwork and pronounced 

228 Random Thoughts and the 

it good, but not good enough; and then, marshalling all of His 
wondrous power, and all of His might, and all of His wisdom, out 
<of the plentitude of His inexhaustible stores, He created the 
mountain region of North Carolina, and pronounced it His mas- 
terpiece among all created things in the physical world. And when 
with His matchless skill He had placed upon His masterpiece the 
imprint of ineifable beauty and glory, it was a veritable Garden 
of the Gods; a land of indescribable and inimitable grandeur: a 
land rugged with towering mountains, indented with fertile valleys, 
crowned with waving forests, canopied with foliage of brightest 
green, and resting upon foundations of everlasting granite. 

It was a land of sparkling fountains, limpid and pure as the 
dews of heaven, bubbling up from every vine-clad hollow and 
hidden glen. It was a land of roaring cataracts, dancing cascades, 
murmuring rivulets, brawling brooks and laughing rills, rippling 
in eternal melody; and rolling ridges, dark gorges, deep ravines, 
verdant dales, and extended land-scapes, sweeping away until they 
met in the far-off rim of the sky. 

It was a land of bright rivers, embanked in emerald and bordered 
with flowers, shimmering in sun-light and moon-light and star- 
light, and rushing like liquid diamonds between the hills, from 
original source to rolling plain, and then flowing on to empty their 
pellucid waters into the restless sea. 

Is it any wonder that our pioneer ancestors, when they first saw 
the land, with its mountains, rocks and streams, its hills, gorges, 
and ravines, its trees, plants, and flowers, clothed in the imperial 
draperies of its light and shadow, its salubrious climate and in- 
comparable atmosphere, believed that they had at last found the 
Promised Land? Is it any wonder that we, their descendants, be- 
lieve that there are no richer fields on earth than ours? That there 
is no fairer land than the Carolina Mountains? 

Mountaineers everywhere will endorse the spirit breathed in the 
following lines, whose author I do not know, but which I have 
paraphrased in order to apply it to the Carolina Mountaineers: 

"The poet sings of Sunny France, 
Fair olive-laden Spain, 
The Grecian Isles, Italia's smiles, 
And India's torrid plain; 
Of Egypt, countless ages old, 

Musings of a Mountaineer 229 

Dark Africa's palms and dates, 

But let me acclaim the land I name — 

My mountain land, in the best of States. 

The poet sings of Switzerland, 

Braw Scotland's heathered moor, 

The shimmering sheen of Ireland's green, 

Of England's rock-bound shore; 

Quaint Holland and the Fatherland, 

Their charms in verse relates; 

But let me acclaim the land I name — 

My mountain land, in the grandest of States. 

I love every inch of our rugged land, 

Every stone on our mountains' side, 

I love every drop of the crystal water 

That flows in our rivers wide; 

I love every tree, every blade of grass, 

That grows within our gates, 

The gem of the earth is the land of my birth — 

My mountain land, in the Queen of States." 



He stood and measured the earth . . . And the 
everlasting mountains were scattered, and the 
perpetual hills did bow: His ways are ever- 

Habakkuk, Chapter 3: 6. 

Some years ago I wrote an article, which I had published in 
some of the local papers, under the title, "A visit to the Old Home- 
stead." The article thereafter appeared in several of the daily 
papers of this State, and from some of them was copied and pub- 
lished in several of the daily papers in other States. In this article, 
among other things, I described the view as seen from the top of 
Whiteside Mountain in Jackson County. I have received a large 
number of letters from people outside the State, who desired to 
know whether there really was such a place as I had described, or 
whether the description was the result of my own imagination. I 
include the article here as a further description of the Carolina 

A few days ago I went back to the old home and scenes of my 
childhood, at the base of Whiteside Mountain, in the southern part 
of Jackson County, where my parents lived together for fifty-nine 
years, and where their ten children were born and reared. 

I went first to the top of Whiteside, which rises five thousand 
four hundred feet above the level of the sea, and stood upon the 
rugged cliffs and crags forming that towering mountain, subdued 
and toned in their gigantic grandeur by the blue haze that is ever 
present in the Blue Ridge Range. 

In the days agone, I have oftentimes stood upon those majestic 
heights at day-break, and, looking toward the East, have watched 
the sombre drapery of the clouds roll up like a scroll from the rim 
of the horizon, as the red torch of the morning enkindled upon the 


stainless crests of a thousand hills a line of crimson fires, and sent 
forth ten thousand shafts of light to herald the coming of the God 
of the day. 

I have stood there when the shadows of the coming darkness 
were falling around me, and I have seen the evening hang her 
silver crescent on the brow of night and equal the awakening 
glory of the dawn with the beauty of the sleepy twilight. 

I have stood there in the winter time at midnight and listened 
sorrowfully to the ice-laden winds as they sighed through the dis- 
mantled forests, and watched the snow fields glistening in the 
moonlight like foam-flecked billows in a stormy sea, while a million 
Stars of Hope flashed back the promise that the soft balmy air 
and the gentle rains of springtime would come again, and renew 
the splendors of our matchless mountain world. 

I have stood there in the summer time at noon-day, a thousand 
feet above the clouds, and watched the thunder storm beat merci- 
lessly upon the primeval trees in the rich valley below, as these 
giant monarchs of the forest, whitened with the snows of a hundred 
winters, stretched forth their mighty arms and struggled with the 
wild and relentless fury of the winds; when the lightning flashed 
against the sky with forked flame, and the very earth rocked and 
trembled beneath the angry roar of the musketry of the winds 
and the artillery of the skies. 

And then I have seen the storm clouds break away and disappear 
while the evening sun hung every shrub and bush and blossom with 
jewels more brilliant than the choicest diamonds found in South 
African and Brazillian mines; and then as the great Orb of the day 
passed behind the western hills, the world appeared to be encircled 
with ineffable beauty, while God's beautiful Rainbow of Promise 
gleamed softly luminous behind the thunder bolts, and caused the 
hearts of all who saw to beat high with hope. 

Surely Eden presented no grander prospect, when the first 
glimpse of her green and ambrosial bowers burst upon the wonder- 
ing vision of earth's first pair, before Satan mounted upward 
through the gloom from the burning regions below, to lurk around 
her magnificent courts, until at last he scaled the bright ramparts, 
and persuaded our primeval parents to taste the fruit hanging in 
fatal fascination from the branches of the Forbidden Tree. 

In all the mighty tide of time there has been no other day 
fraught with consequences so far-reaching and fearsome to the 

232 Random Thoughts and the 

human race, as that on which these repentant and sorrowful 
exiles from the favor of God looked upon the blaze that laid in 
ruins the world's first and last abode of perfect peace and happiness, 
and saw the flaming sword of Retribution mount guard above the 
gates of the Garden and close them forever against the children 
of men. 

There are thousands who travel over continents and sail over 
seas to visit the great Art Galleries of the world and gaze for a 
moment upon the masterpieces which the genius of every age and 
clime has spread upon canvass; and yet, did they but know, they 
may stand upon the sculptured cliffs and rugged heights of White- 
side Mountain and look across the intervening space to where the 
faraway skyline blends in the exquisite harmony of the surrounding 
landscapes the richest tints and rarest images and aspects of Nature 
— the blue of tranquil skies, the shimmer of winding streams, the 
wilderness of trees and shrubs and flowers, the dreamy haze half 
veiling a hundred other mountains with names and a thousand 
others nameless but just as beautiful, and like as many emerald 
terraces piled one above the other until the farthermost stands in 
the dim and shadowy distance wrapped in the mantle of Heaven. 

There is a picture that baffles and beggars description; a picture 
painted by that unseen mystic Hand that traces the never-fading 
green on pine and laurel and cedar; that sprinkles gold on the 
maple trees when the winds of Autumn sigh; that lights in molten 
splendor the Fairy Cities of the empurpled sunset; that causes the 
flowers to blush with radiance under the burning kiss of the daz- 
zling sunbeams and attires the forests in all the resplendent colors 
of the rainbow, while the burnished heavens like the spangled robe 
of an Enchanter, hangs over it all. 

There is the same plenitude of beauty there now as when the 
Angel Hosts and Chorus, with voices attuned to the music of the 
spheres, chanted their first grand anthem across the air of heaven 
into the glad ear of enraptured Deity. 

The sun shines, the moon beams, the springs bubble, the cascades 
sparkle, the flowers bloom, the winds moan, the zephyrs whisper, the 
birds sing, and the heavens gleam in their imperial draperies of 
fleecy cloud and splendid light, just as they did when the Morning 
Star first saluted Creation's Dawn. 

Following the climb to the top of Whiteside, I went to the site 
of the old homestead in the valley. A quarter of a century ago it 

Musings of a Mountaineer 233 

passed into other hands, and I had not seen it for more than a 
score of years. 

When I stood upon the spot where I first saw the light and where 
my childhood and youth and early manhood were spent, the happy 
scenes of former years passed before me in review like flitting pic- 
tures in a dream, and my soul was filled with a sweet but pensive 
sadness unspeakable as I beheld the changes which Time had 
wrought. Most of the old home had been torn away and a new 
and more modern building erected in its place. New fields had been 
cleared, and most of those in which I had plowed and hoed and 
reaped and sung the harvest song had been discarded and allowed 
to grow up into a forest of quick-growing trees, now more than a 
dozen years of age. 

But the little spring is still there, pouring out from a crevice in 
a solid rock, and from its crystal waters — sweetened with sparkling 
dewdrops and cooled by the hailstorm — I quenched my thirst as I 
was wont to do in the happy days of the "sweet long ago." 

And Norton's Fork, the West prong of the beautiful Chattooga 
River, is still there, fresh from the heart of Whiteside, fed by a 
hundred babbling springs gushing forth from the mountain's side, 
and then spreading out into a smooth limpid rivulet winding its 
silver course gently through the fields, causing the grass in the 
meadows to grow green, the flowers to burst into bloom, and the 
earth to quickly respond to the persuasive touch of labor. I stood 
upon its flower-bestrewn banks, and bathed in the bright June 
sunlight, and drank my fill of the pure mountain air, laden with 
the clinging fragrance of the azalea and wild honeysuckle, and 
watched the speckled trout flutter and play in the depths and 
shallows of the stream, and once more I listened to its never-ending 
song as it flowed on in its eternal journey to mingle its music with 
the murmuring melody of the sea. 

I next went to the little cemetery on the hill where my father 
and mother and brothers and sisters are sleeping; and as I stood 
by their graves Memory lifted her veil and carried me back 
through the shadows of the vanished years, and recalled a thousand 
instances of the loyalty and love of the brothers and sisters who 
dwell in this silent little City of the Dead; and the June wind, 
blowing gently from the west, bore upon its wings the echoes of a 
father's counsel and a mother's prayer uttered in the years that are 
gone by lips closed with the seal of the eternal silence. And then 

234 Random Thoughts and the 

in the gathering twilight of the evening, as I turned to leave that 
place of sacred recollections and eternal repose, I saw the Evening 
Star, emblematic of the Star of Hope, twinkling brightly above 
the horizon, and as I closed the gates of the little cemetery behind 
me, it seemed to me that I could hear the strains of distant music 
and the gentle rustle of unseen wings. Then I thought of the lofty 
anthem and Promise of Life Eternal spoken by the Man of Galilee 
more than nineteen centuries ago: "I am the Resurrection and the 
Life; he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live; 
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." 

Before North Carolina ceded to the United States the territory 
now embraced within the State of Tennessee, the present Tennessee 
territory constituted the Western half of North Carolina. This 
territory so ceded by North Carloina includes the Northern sides 
of the Roan Mountain, the Black, the Northern Unaka, the Smoky, 
and the South side of the Cumberlands, as stated heretofore in 
these pages. 

Many years ago, during a session of the Supreme Court at 
Jackson, Tennessee, at a banquet held in honor of the Bench and 
Bar of the "Old Volunteer State", General N. B. Forrest delivered 
a toast to Landon C. Haynes, and referred to him as being from 
the mountains of East Tennessee, sometimes known as "The God- 
forsaken." Mr. Haynes, according to a clipping which I have from 
a Tennessee newspaper, had the following to say about the North- 
ern side of some of the mountains which I have attempted to 
describe in one of the preceding chapters: 

"Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: 

I plead guilty to the soft impeachment. I was born in East 
Tennessee, on the banks of the Watauga, which in the Indian 
vernacular means ^beautiful river', and beautiful river it is. I have 
stood upon its banks in my childhood and looked down upon its 
glossy waters and there beheld a heaven below, and then looked 
up and beheld a heaven above, reflecting like two vast mirrors, 
each in the other, its moons, its planets, and trembling stars! Away 
from its rocky borders of cedar, pine, and hemlock, stretches a 
vale back to the distant mountains, more beautiful than the groves 
of Switzerland, more exquisite and grander than the vales of Italy. 
There stand the great Roan, the Black and the Smoky Mountains, 

Musings of a Mountaineer 235 

upon whose summits I have seen the clouds gather of their own 
accord even in the brightest day. There I have seen the Great Spirit 
of the Storm go take his evening nap in his pavilion of darkness, 
and clouds! Then, I have seen him aroused at midnight and come 
forth like a giant refreshed by slumber, and arouse the tempest, and 
let loose the red lightnings that ran along the mountains tops for 
a thousand miles swifter than an eagle's flight in heaven. Then, I 
have seen the lightnings stand up like angels of light and dance 
in the clouds to the music of that grand organ of Nature whose 
keys seemed to have been touched by the fingers of Divinity, which 
responded in notes of thunder that resounded throughout the 

Then I have seen the darkness drift away, and Morn get up from 
her saffron bed and come forth like a queen robed in her garments 
of light and stand 'tip-toe on the misty mountain tops', and Black 
Night fled away from her glorious face to his bed chamber at the 
pole; and she lighted the green vale and beautiful river, where I 
was born and played in my childhood, with a smile of sunshine! 
O, beautiful land of the mountains, with thy sun-painted cliffs, 
how can I ever forget thee!" 


The mountains shall bring peace to the people, 
and the little hills, by righteousness. 

Psalms, Chapter 72: 3. 

One afternoon during the August Term, 1938, of Macon County 
Superior Court, Mr. G. L. Houk, a popular young attorney o,f 
the Town of Franklin, invited me to ride with him to the top of 
Wayah Bald. Although I am a native and life-long resident of the 
Carolina Mountains this was my first trip to the highest elevation 
in the Nantahalas. 

Hon. Gilmer A. Jones, attorney of Franklin, and one time Solici- 
tor of the Twentieth Judicial District, had given me a typewritten 
copy of "The Legend of Wayah Bald", the particulars of which 
he had collected from time to time and woven into a beautiful 
story, which, I understand, will soon appear in one of our popular 
magazines. Briefly, the substance of the legend is as follows: 

236 Random Thoughts and the 

In the long ago, before the white man came to these mountains, 
there lived with the Cherokees a very old man by the name of 
Coneheetah, who was everywhere acclaimed the wisest man in the 
Cherokee Nation. As he grew older he spent most of his time on 
the summit of the mountain which we know now as Wayah Bald. 
The old man had a grandson, then about twelve years of age, who, 
on account of his acute sight, hearing, alertness, strength, and 
activity, had been given the name of "Wayah", which, being in- 
terpreted, means "the wolf". Oftentimes Wayah went with his 
grandfather to the top of this mountain. 

One night after the stars came out Coneheetah seemed to be 
talking to them, and he told Wayah that his reason for spending 
so many nights on the top of this mountain was that he might the 
better hear and understand what the stars said to him. He said the 
stars had told him that in the years to come an enemy would descend 
from the North to conquer and destroy the Cherokees, and that 
Wayah was destined to become the greatest among the chiefs of 
his people, and that he alone could lead them to victory against 
this enemy. He then told Wayah to go back to the village of his 
people and train himself to be the best archer, the swiftest runner, 
and the most skillful wielder of the tomahawk in all the Cherokee 
Nation, and to make himself worthy to become the greatest chief 
of his tribe. He then enjoined Wayah to teach the people of his 
tribe to emulate him, and to do all the things that would make them 
clean and strong and brave. The old man said that we would not 
again be seen in the villages, but would remain on top of the moun- 
tain where he could talk to the stars and hear what they said to 
him; and that as the years rolled on if Wayah should ever need 
him, if he would come at night to the mountain's top Coneheetah 
would tell him what the stars had said. Wayah remembered and 
minutely obeyed all of Coneheetah's instructions; yet, as the moons 
continued to come and go, no enemy came down from the North. 
At length, Wayah himself grew old and realized that if trouble 
came he would not be able to lead his people. But finally the blow 
struck. A runner came to the village of Wayah and brought the 
news of the attack of the Iroquois upon the Cherokee villages far- 
ther North; of the killing of their squaws and papooses; of the de- 
struction of the buffalo and the deer; and of the threat of the Iro- 
quois that they would kill the Cherokees to the last man or wrest 
from them every inch of their hunting grounds. Wayah sent mes- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 237 

sengers to call out his braves to the war path. But when they started 
across the mountain to meet the enemy Wayah found that he could 
not keep up with his warriors; so he sadly turned aside and went to 
the top of the mountain where he had last seen Coneheetah. And 
that night when the stars hung their friendly torches on the sky he 
threw himself down upon the very rock where he had last seen 
Coneheetah sitting, and cried out in his grief: "You taught me to 
be strong and courageous. You told me that I would be needed 
to drive back the tribes of the North, to lead my people and save 
them. But now they die like rabbits from the tomahawks of the 
Iroquois. My young men need me to lead them, but my body is bent 
like the storm-beaten oaks about me. My braves go alone to meet 
the invader, and I, whom you so carefully taught, am powerless to 
help them. The bow will no longer bend for me; I can no longer 
wield the tomahawk, for the strength of my arm is gone." And 
when Wayah had thus spoken, from the rock itself he heard the 
voice of Coneheetah saying to him: "My son, do you wish to have 
back your strength of arm and fleetness of foot? Do you wish to 
have returned to you your steadiness of eye and sureness of aim? 
Think well. You have given all these things to the young men of 
your tribe. What you once had they have now. The spirit of the 
young Wayah is now burning in the hearts of your young braves. 
You have given them yourself, multiplied by thousands. You have 
led them, and your spirit breathes in them. If you had not first 
learned, you could not have taught them. There was work to do 
and you did that work. Your people are saved and their villages 
still stand." 

For a moment there was silence. Then Coneheetah spoke again 
very softly, more softly than he had been known to speak before. 
"Do not leave me again, my son. The stars have many things to tell 
us as they pass over our heads." 

From this legend the mountain I had started to visit and the 
creek which rushes down the steep declivities of its rugged side re- 
ceived their names. "Wayah", as applied to the mountain, means 
"The Mountain of the Wolf"; and, as applied to the creek, it 
means "The Creek of the Wolf." 

There are those who will gainsay this story. There are those who 
will say that Coneheetah, the Wise Man of the Cherokees, did not 
commune with the stars — that the stars did not speak to him. They 
may be right. They may be wrong. I do not know. But I do know 

238 Random Thoughts and the 

that it was a Star that heralded to the three Wise Men of the East 
the "glad tidings of great joy" — that the Prince of Peace was 
born. I do know that it was a Star which guided their foot-steps 
to the lowly Manger in Bethlehem, that they might worship the 
new-born Savior of the World and present their gifts of gold and 
frankincense and myrrh. 

In this legend of the savage Indian I see a lesson of profound 
meaning for all of us. It illustrates the great truth that the influence 
of a human life for good or for ill will never die. Our minds and 
hearts leave some of their qualities and some of their characteristics 
in the minds and hearts of others, both while we live and after we 
are dead. We live in the service we have rendered to mankind, and 
our achievements will live, and rule, and sway, some portion of the 
human race and the world, long years after our wasted bodies 
have been consigned to the tomb. 

On this trip to Wayah we traveled over U. S. Highway No. 64 
for a distance of five miles, where we turned to the right and com- 
pleted our journey over a road which had been recently constructed 
by the U. S. Forestry Service, and which is splendidly surfaced with 
stone and gravel and is open to travel all the year round. For the 
greater part of the way this road follows the grade of the old 
Asheville-Murphy Turnpike, over which, in the old days, the stage- 
coach traveled under regular schedule, carrying both mail and 
passengers between Asheville and Murphy. 

In less than one hour from the time we left Franklin we were 
on top of Wayah Bald. On its highest point the Forestry Service 
has built a stone tower some forty to fifty feet high and from the 
balcony of its topmost story I saw the grandest spectacle my eyes 
have ever beheld or that they ever will behold, perhaps, unless I 
shall be permitted to look upon heaven's incomparable landscapes. 

It was a part of my heritage to have been born in vision-reach 
of Wayah Bald, for it is plainly visible from the top of Whiteside, 
in whose shadows I was born and reared; but to my untrained eyes 
all these massive mountains were once only obstructions in my way 
— difficulties to be overcome. Their ribbon streamlets with their 
moss-ruffled edges were common branches to me, and their far-off 
coves and wooded slopes were only hiding places for wild animals. 
Their indescribable beauty was not then apparent to me and my 
untutored mind saw not their grandeur. It was impossible for my 
narrow vision to even glimpse the panoramic glory that was daily 

Musings of a Mountaineer 239 

piled in poems before my eyes. But with the passing of the years 
these playmates of my childhood have taken on a newer and a 
grander glory. Since the completion of our magnificent system of 
State Highways and County and community roads, which edge 
the streams, surmount the cliffs, clamber along the rugged steeps, 
and finally reach the highest summits, I have been to the tops of 
most of our higher mountains. We boast forty-six which reach an 
altitude of more than six thousand feet, while there are eighty-eight 
others which are upwards of five thousand feet high. The view from 
all of them is grand. But from Wayah Bald, in whatever direction 
you look, the view is unobstructed until the countless ranges melt 
in the dim and shadowy distance where earth and sky meet and 

The mountains, streams, and sunshine; the lengthening shadows, 
the quick twilight, and the moon's silver rays have been there 
always. When the Morning Stars were singing together while the 
world was young, Wayah Bald was there in all the pristine glory 
of Creation's Dawn; but the slow-passing years and the slow- 
moving centuries rolled on and on in uncounted cycles before 
mortal man stood uncovered and worshipped its beauty. It has 
lifted its head above the fog-line and the tree-line and looked out 
over what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 
the Pisgah National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest, 
and other sections just as beautiful, during all the dead centuries 
of Man's existence. It presents the same amplitude of beauty now 
that first awoke the joyous chorus of Creation's Hymn. 

As I stood there with bated breath, gazing across innumerable 
chasms and countless valleys, and from mountain top to mountain 
top, I felt that I saw stretched out before me "all the kingdoms 
of the world and the glory of them." The whole mountian world 
stood clothed in all the brilliant colors of the rainbow, while over 
the winsome picture hung the painted sky, painted as only God 
can paint. 

Looking to the westward into Graham County, we could plainly 
see Hooper's Bald and Hangover Mountain, each with an altitude 
of five thousand feet, and near by was Lake Santeetlah, with its 
wavelets glistening in the sunlight like a field of shatered diamonds. 
Still farther to the westward in Cherokee County are the Snow- 
birds, the Unakas, and Andrews Bald of about the same altitude. 
Next we gazed upon the Tusquittee Bald and Chunky Gal which 

240 Random Thoughts and the 

divide Macon and Clay Counties. To the south is Standing Indian, 
one of the highest elevations in the Blue Ridge Range, with an 
altitude of five thousand five hundred and sixty-three feet, while 
over to the southeast, in the same range but just across the Georgia 
line, is Rabun Bald, which stands six thousand feet above the level 
of the sea. 

Over to the east is Whiteside, five thousand four hundred feet 
high, in Jackson County, and Hogback, or Mount Toxaway, in 
Transylvania County, of nearly the same elevation. Facing to the 
northeast, you next look upon Mount Pisgah, the Richland Balsams, 
Cold Mountain, and Tennessee Bald, dividing Haywood and 
Jackson Counties, and ranging from five thousand, seven hundred 
and forty-nine feet to six thousand, five hundred and forty-five 
feet high, with their ever-green balsams waving their emerald 
boughs every day in the year. 

Looking to the north, one beholds in plain sight, the Nantahala 
Gorge, like a great deep gash cut through the very heart of the 
mountains; while, on beyond, rise all the higher peaks of the Great 
Smokies in Swain County, North Carolina, and in Tennessee, 
Gregory Bald, Thunder Head, Mount Leconte, Mount Kephart, 
Mount Guyot, and Clingman's Dome — their rugged heads helmeted 
with everlasting granite, seared by the lightning's flash, and scarred 
by the thunder's bolt, reaching into the clouds at elevations ranging 
all the way from four thousand, nine hundred and forty-eight to 
six thousand, six hundred and ninety-two feet above sea level. 

From Wayah Bald, which attains a height of five thousand, four 
hundred feet, as quickly as your vision can make the circle, you may 
plainly see the last-named higher mountains lifting their lordly 
crests in nine different Counties, including one in Georgia; and 
on and on the story runs as the vision sweeps, for everywhere be- 
tween there are hundreds of others with names and a thousand 
others nameless but equally beautiful, piled one above the other 
until the farthermost appears to be robed in the faint, ethereal 
mantle of the skies. Above the Smokies, aloft in the fading distance 
of the great National Park, I saw a ruffle of thunder clouds looking 
as if they were frozen about the zig-zag horizon line, while a drift- 
ing fleece of fog, like a sheer veil of azure over emerald, hung 
across the Nantahala Gorge. 

In plain view hundreds of crystal streams gush out from the 
fern-clad sides of the mountains to begin hunting their way out to 

Musings of a Mountaineer 241 

the sea. Like great white serpents they wriggle and glide along 
down the flowery slopes, between great boulders, down through 
dark gorges and deep ravines, where they eddy in still pools to 
rock the speckled trout to sleep in their crystal cradles. They care- 
fully choose their courses between cliffs and crags, sometimes plung- 
ing over precipices of moss-sodden rock, sometimes leaping and 
laughing and cascading over pebbly shoals, until in the distance 
they look like streams of molten silver moving along 'twixt banks 
of greensward bejeweled with sparkling dew drops, and bedecked 
with wild flowers of rarest colors. Some of these streams wind their 
hurried way into the Tennessee, thence into the Ohio, and thence 
down the Mississippi to mingle their vital essence with the flow 
of the Gulf Stream; while others, from the Southern and Eastern 
slopes of the Blue Ridge wind slowly around through the Skyland 
Mountains of Western North Carolina until at last they head for 
the deep and surging Atlantic. 

And now it was nearing sunset in the Nantahalas. On the morn- 
ing of this now-dying day, as on all other mornings since the time 
when God said, "Let there be light and there was light", Aurora, 
the beautiful Goddess of the Dawn, had stood tip-toe on the Eastern 
Mountain tops, her lovely face blushing with radiance at the kiss 
of the morning wind, and with her rose-tinted fingers drew back 
the dark curtains of the night and heralded the coming of the new 
day. And then the great Sun-God came forth refreshed from his 
slumbers, peeping with his fiery eyes over the edge of the horizon, 
his dewless beams stealing through the mists that hung upon the 
summits of the Grandfather, Mount Mitchell, and Mount Pisgah, 
his golden streamers fluttering in the fleecy clouds, as the flickering 
stars dissolved into the blue-black dome of the heavens, and the 
whole mountain world was soon flooded with blazing light. 

Long before we reached the mountain top, his mighty chariot 
had rolled across the heights of Whiteside, the Nantahalas, and the 
Smokies, and he had now lost some of his blinding brilliance as he 
glided over the forests through a notch in the farthermost ranges. 
He had gathered his shafts of light into golden bundles and was 
now shooting back from the great red disk of his burning shield his 
parting rays in flames of livid fire, as he hastened down to the West. 

I had seen many sunsets before; glorious sunsets with purples and 
scarlets and golds. I had seen the sun melt into the hills like a pot 
of liquid fire and plunge like a great crimson ball behind the 

242 Random Thoughts and the 

.highest peaks, swathe their giant shoulders in robes of royal purple, 
and set the ranges on fire with his last flashing rays; but never 
had I seen a sunset like this. As his great red face slipped out of 
sight behind the green-walled ramparts of the western-most ranges, 
the flames of evening shot up in magnificent splendor above the 
tree tops, and glorified the horizontal bars of purple clouds which 
stretched themselves above the burnished summits, and the golden 
light swept by as if it had been the transparent shadow of a moon- 
beam, swift and evanescent like a dream or fleeting happiness. But 
by now the twilight had fallen, and the last rays of the setting sun 
passed lingeringly from view and the waters of the creeks and the 
rivulets changed successively from gold to crimson and to purple 
and silver and gray. The twilight deepened; the Evening Star came 
out, hanging close and low, and from behind one of the distant 
ranges the moon came rolling up, and, starting on her journey 
across the sky, rose higher and higher, until she had spilled a flood 
of glistening silver over the silent earth. A breeze, warm and dry 
as a gentle current from some distant fire, its wings scented with 
the fragrant breath of wild flowers and blossoming shrubs, and 
hushed as the drowsy murmur of gently eddying waters where the 
star-beams dance, sighed noiselessly as it swept by, and whispered 
softly of lifted clouds and stormy gales at rest. It tinged the sand; 
it touched the rhododendrons and the azaleas, and sobbed and 
vanished amid the laurels, and gave to these tree-like plants a wierd 
majesty that was uncanny, and yet somehow real. And now the 
broad, bending arch of the deep blue firmament, from ten thousand 
points of light, rained a shower of silvery splendor, as a myriad 
of stars spangled forth, hung out their crystal lanterns, and shed 
their luster over the Land of the Sky. Twilight merged into dusk, 
and dusk into full darkness, and night worked her artistry over 
the valleys, purpling the domed knolls, touching the mountain 
sides with gray black, inking the brush-fringed hills and the star- 
bathed crags. From a dark clump of trees down toward the foot 
of the slope sounded the love call of a whippoorwill, infinitely sad 
and sweet. 

Somewhere over in the woods an owl's haunting hoot rent the 
quiet air and the bark of a fox awoke the distant echoes. With the 
whispering of the night wind among the leaves mingled the faint 
stirring of dreaming birds and a thousand sounds of the insect 
kingdom. Then all was still once more, and the moon, from the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 243 

star-bejeweled vault of the heavens, smiled softly down as before, 
while she swung on toward her bed among the serried pinnacles 
over to the westward; the grass and the leaves and the flowers 
went to sleep under her goodnight kiss, and a benediction of perfect 
peace descended upon the verdured mountains. And such was the 
wonderful ending of a glorious day! 




But now they desire a better country, that is, an 
heavenly (country), wherefore God is not 
ashamed to be called their God. 

Hebrews, Chapter 11: 16. 

Much has been written about the origin of the Carolina Moun- 
taineers. Some of these writings speak the truth. Others are based 
on ignorance, prejudice, and falsehood. 

A number of authors, moved to write something that would sell 
in the North, and elsewhere, to those who knew nothing of our 
mountain section and its people, have been pleased to assert, without 
any authority whatsoever, that our mountains were originally set- 
tled by refugees from England; mainly criminals, who had been 
deported under British laws then in force, and for the violation of 
which "banishment" was the penalty. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is true, however, that 
there was a time when many people in the South were referred to 
as "poor whites." They were the descendants of convicts who had 
been deported from England, and "hired out" or indentured as 
servants by the English to the large tobacco and cotton plantations. 
There were three classes of these laborers, namely, the very poor 
people of England who desired to come to America but were unable 
to pay their way across the Atlantic, and who voluntarily sold their 
services for definite periods of time in payment for such transpor- 
tation; youths of both sexes who were kidnapped by British traders 
and sold into slavery on the large plantations; and criminals who 
had been convicted in the Courts of England, and sentenced to 
serve terms on American plantations. These practices were pursued 
prior to the Revolution while we were under British rule. When 
these unfortunate people served their terms they settled in the back- 
woods away from the plantations. For a long time these "poor 
whites" were the chief laborers on the southern plantations. When 


African slavery was introduced in the South, these "poor whites" 
located in the back-woods of the tobacco and cotton belts and 
took up such lands as were unfit for the cultivation of tobacco, 
cotton and other crops that were profitable to the slave owners. 
But this class of people were in no way related to the pioneers who 
settled the Carolina Mountains. 

Our mountain region was known to white people long years 
before the first settlers came. Sir Walter Raleigh's first expedition 
reached the coast of North Carolina on the 4th day of July, 1584. 
The Jamestown Colony on the coast of Virginia was established on 
the 20th day April, 1607. But forty-four years before Raleigh 
landed with his colony on North Carolina's shores, and sixty-seven 
years before the setlement at Jamestown, DeSoto, the Spanish ex- 
plorer, with his army, marched through the mountains of Western 
North Carolina in search of gold. 

Our section was well known by both Spaniards and English for 
nearly two hundred and fifty years before the first permanent 
settlements were made by our pioneer ancestors. 

On the 30th day of May, 1539, Hernando DeSoto, of Spain, 
landed at Tampa, on the west coast of Florida. He had with him 
six hundred armed men and thirteen horses. There have been many 
attempts to trace his route from there through our mountains. It 
is well established however, that he came through the upper Pied- 
mont section of South Carolina, and finally reached the head- 
waters of Broad River in what is now Rutherford County, North 
Carolina, where the Cheraw Indians held sway all the way from 
the head of the Broad River to the upper Piedmont in South 
Carolina. From here they traveled west, and the record says that 
they passed "through a country covered with fields of maize of 
luxuriant growth," and during the next five days they "traversed 
a chain of easy mountains, covered with oak or mulberry trees, 
with intervening valleys, rich in pasturage and irrigated by clear, 
rapid streams. These mountains were twenty leagues across." At 
last they reached "a grand and powerful river and a village at the 
end of a long Island, where pearl oysters were found." 

After leaving the head waters of Broad River and going west, 
they soon crossed "a very high ridge" and after descending the 
"Savanna" on the western side of the mountain they crossed a river 
running in the opposite direction from the course the Broad River 

246 Random Thoughts and the 

flows, and which they supposed to be a tributary of the Mississippi. 
This was the French Broad River. 

The above description of their route is from the description 
which DeSoto's Chronicler made himself, and is a fairly perfect 
description of a trip from the headwaters of the Broad River, 
through the present County of Haywood, across Balsam Gap, 
down Scott's Creek and on to the large Indian Town of Cullowhee, 
Jackson County. From time immemorial there was a tradition 
among the Indians that the above was the route traveled by DeSoto 
and his army, and there is authentic history to the effect that they 
crossed the Balsam Gap and traveled down Scott's Creek which 
runs west from the Balsam Mountains. 

For a long time after Jackson County was settled the Indians 
maintained their village and Town House at Cullowhee. Since the 
first settlement of the Cullowhee Valley, the field on which the 
Indian Village was located, was, and still is known as the "Town 
House Field." It is now owned by the State of North Carolina, and 
is the site of Western Carolina Teachers' College. It is true that 
there is no "long island" there, but it is the confluence of Cullowhee 
Creek and Tuckaseigee River, and a deep "horseshoe" bend in 
Cullowhee Creek just before it enters the river gives the land 
between the two streams on whcih the Indian Village stood, the 
appearance of a "long island". 

On August 26, 1935, by a joint resolution of Congress, a Com- 
misison was authorized, to be known as the United States DeSoto 
Expedition Commission, with full authority to locate the route 
followed by DeSoto and his followers, through the States of 
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ten- 
nessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. 

This Commission filed its report with Congress December 28, 
1938. All the accounts of the DeSoto expedition agree that the 
Spaniards finally reached Keowee Town in what is now Oconee 
County, South Carolina. The above-mentioned Commission report- 
ed that the Spaniards, after leaving Keowee Town, came North 
along an old Indian trail which ran between Crane Creek and Knox 
Creek, crossing Chattooga River, then passing through Horse Cove 
and the present town of Highlands, down Tessuntee Creek to 
Cullasaja, and thence down the last named stream to the Little 
Tennessee to the present town of Franklin, or Nikwassi, as the 
Indians called it. That the Spaniards were at Franklin no historian 

Musings of a Mountaineer 247 

has ever questioned. As positive proof that they were at Franklin 
it may be stated here that in 1900, Mrs. Margaret R. Siler, of 
Franklin, found on Iotla Street, in an oak grove, a Spanish cannon 
ball. There is a tradition, too, that on the Elam Slagle farm near 
the foot of Wayah Bald Mountain a small brass cannon lies buried, 
which the Spaniards were supposed to have left when the Indians 
were pressing them so hard. This farm is near the route the Span- 
iards traveled in going across the mountain to the Hiawassee, and 
thence on to Murphy. (See Cherokee Indian Lore, 55.) 

Honorable Thomas A. Cox, of Cullowhee, in Jackson County, 
is the best authority I know on the tradition and history of the 
DeSoto expedition through this section. He tells me that at Keowee 
Town DeSoto's forces divided into two parties, one following the 
route pointed out in the DeSoto Expedition Commission, and the 
other party coming to Cullowhee by way of Broad River, Hickory 
Nut Gap, Balsam Gap, etc. Mr. Cox says that while he was a 
member of the Legislature of North Carolina he saw in one of the 
capital buildings at Raleigh an old Spanish map showing the fore- 
going route of the Spaniards, to an Indian town called (on the 
map) Karora, presumably in the Cullowhee Valley on the "Town- 
House Field" hereinbefore mentioned. A Spanish cannon ball 
about two and a half inches in diameter, was found near where 
the "Town House" stood on the mound which is still visible, of 
the kind used in the sixteenth century. This cannon ball is in the 
possession of Mr. Cox now. 

Some six or eight miles below Cullowhee is the town of Webster, 
which until recent years, was the County seat of Jackson County. 
The town is built on a ridge leading from King's Mountain down 
to Tuckaseigee River. In this ridge there are several tunnels, which 
still bear evidence of having been excavated by sharp metallic tools. 
The first white settlers learned from the older Indians, who in turn 
had been told by their ancestors, that these tunnels had been made 
by white men in the long ago. 

In Macon County old tunnels and shafts are found of similar 
age, and many others are found on the Valley River and at other 
places in Cherokee County. In one of these old shafts in Cherokee 
County on the Valley River there was discovered at the bottom in 
1854, a well preserved windlass made of hewn oak, showing traces 
of having once been banded with iron. Another shaft, passing 
through hard stone, showed the marks of sharp tools used in the 

248 Random Thoughts and the 

boring and the casting, and other timbers were still sound. In other 
places in Western North Carolina, notably in Mitchell County, 
there is evidence of mining operations over three hundred years 
old as shown by the rings on trees that have sprung up in some 
of the excavations. 

Mr. Arthur Palmer, of Marble, in Cherokee County, who has 
a collection of over 20,000 Indian relics, also has four Spanish axes, 
one Spanish cannon barrel, and a large pick, with the wooden 
handle still in good condition, all of which were found in the 
bottom of some of the shafts along Valley River above Murphy. 
He also has a number of crosses similar to the noted Virginia 
"Fairy Stones", and they are found on the bed-rock of the old 
gold mines. 

Marshall Bell, a leading member of the Western North Carolina 
Bar, residing at Murphy, has in his possession a very old pistol of 
Spanish manufacture, which was found in recent years at the 
bottom of one of these old shafts in Cherokee County. It is partly 
decayed by rust, but there is plainly visible on it the imprint of a 
Spanish Coat of Arms. DeSoto and his six hundred men could 
hardly have done all the mining which the signs still existent indi- 
cate was done in those early days, for after his expedition in West- 
ern Carolina, he discovered the Mississippi River in 1541, and on 
the 21st day of May, 1542, he died. In order to deceive the Indians 
his body was buried, but later it was exhumed, weighted with sand 
and consigned to the "Father of Waters." 

In the year 1566, a Spaniard by the name of Pedro Menendez 
built a fort called San Felipe at Saint Helena on the Island of 
Port Royal in South Carolina. In November of that year a Spanish 
Captain by the name of Juan Pardo was sent to explore the interior 
of the mountain country and built a fort among the Cheraw 
Indians near the foot of the Blue Ridge in North Carolina, and 
left it in charge of one of his sergeants. Sometime thereafter this 
sergeant, with his party, penetrated the North Carolina Mountains 
into the Cherokee country to one of their towns called Chioha. 
Here he was later joined by Pardo, and from there they passed 
through Alabama on their return trip to Saint Helena. Soon there- 
after Spanish miners spent several years in the Cherokee country 
and engaged in rather extensive mining operation both in the Caro- 
lina Mountains and in upper Georgia. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 249 

In 1670 a German by the name of John Lederer, who was em- 
ployed by the Governor of Virginia, William Berkeley, traveled 
through western Virginia into the Cherokee country west of the 
Blue Ridge. During this same year Dr. Henry Woodard of South 
Carolina made a trip through the Cherokee country in North 
Carolina, and again in 1674. 

On May 17, 1673, General Abraham Wood, who was in com- 
mand of Fort Henry, at the present town of Petersburg, Virginia, 
sent an exploring party through the mountains of Western North 
Carolina. We are told that this party spent four days in ascending 
one mountain. They then forded five different rivers and on the 
fifteenth day reached the Cherokee town of Sittaree, situated on 
a river on which "lives a white people which have long beards and 
whiskers and wears clothing." There is much evidence supporting 
the theory that the river referred to was the Little Tennessee, 
which rises in Towns County, Georgia, then flows through Macon 
and Swain Counties and finally reaches the Tennessee River. 

In 1690, an Irish trader named Cornelius Doughtery, took up 
his permanent abode among the Cherokees in Western North 
Carolina. Trade among the whites and Indians continued in this 
section until the country was finally settled by the whites. 

But it was not alone by miners and hunters that our mountain 
land became well known to white people before it was finally 
settled by that race. Science had also discovered and penetrated the 
country. Andre Michaux, a Frenchman, who made botany his life 
work, made numerous excursions through our mountains as early 
as 1788, and wrote a number of books in which he advertised to 
the world the wonderful flora of our mountain wilderness. In 1755, 
William Bartram, himself a famous botanist, the son of the noted 
Botanist, John Bartram, came across the Blue Ridge and down the 
Little Tennessee River, passing the present town of Franklin in 
Macon County, and wrote a book in which he gave a list of many 
of the flowers and birds native to our mountains. In 1799, John 
Frazer, a Scotch Botanist, explored our section extensively, and is 
said to have been the discoverer of the beautiful rhododendron for 
which our mountains are noted. Many other scientists and travelers, 
whose names are too numerous to be recorded here, visited our 
section in the early days. 

It is said that at the time the Spanish miners left this country 
for good, the Indians took a few of them captive and adopted them 

250 Random Thoughts and the 

into their tribes. These Spaniards married Indian women, and 
reared families among the Cherokees, and now and then a white 
hunter did likewise. So it is possible that there was a trace of the 
white man's blood in the Western Carolina Indians at the time the 
country was settled by the whites. 

But the miners, scientists, travelers, and hunters herein referred 
to did not settle the Carolina Mountains. The best blood of four 
peoples and four countries flows in the veins of the native Carolina 
Mountaineers — Scotch, Irish, British and Dutch. 

The coastal plains of North Carolina were settled almost ex- 
clusively by the English. The middle or Piedmont section was 
settled by the English, Dutch and Germans, with a considerable 
sprinkling of Scotch-Irish. 

The native people of Ireland were never enthusiastically loyal 
to the British government. This has been the case in modern as 
well as in more ancient times. I have somewhere read a story of an 
Irishman who came to this country. He landed in New York, and 
as he walked down the street he met a policeman. The Irishman 
inquired: "Faith, and is this America?" The policeman informed 
him that he was in America. The Irishman next inquired: "Well, 
do you have a government here?" The policeman assured him that 
we have a government. To this answer the Irishman replied: "Well, 
faith and begorry, I'm agin it." And so has it ever been with the 
Irishman. He is brave and generous to a fault; but he hates re- 
straint. He is in favor of government, but not too much govern- 

Prior to 1607, James I, King of England, was not making much 
progress in the business of governing the Irish, and especially those 
who resided in that territory known to history as "The Six Counties 
of Ulster." He drove from this particular section of Ireland the 
native population and re-settled it with Scotch people and English 
Presbyterians. Naturally the Irish, who had been driven from their 
homes, looked upon these new-comers into their land as aliens and 
usurpers. They were not related to them by blood or in their 
religious beliefs, and in consequence, as the years rolled on, they 
fought with them many a bloody battle. 

Of course, here and there intermarriages occurred between the 
Scotch, the English and the Irish, but because most of them came 
from Scotland, they came to be known as Scotch-Irish, the majority 
of them being Scotch people who had settled in Ireland. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 251 

In the course of time, however, the leases which the Crown had 
made to these people came to an end, and the British government 
refused to renew them, and the Scotch-Irish rebelled. Then the 
English Crown commenced a program of religious and political 
persecution against them and finally evicted them. It was then that 
the Scotch-Irish began to emigrate to America. Froude tells us that 
"In the two years that followed the Antrim evictions, thirty thou- 
sand Protestants left Ulster for a land where there was no legal 
robbery, and where those who sowed the seed could reap the 

Now, these Scotch-Irish people are not to be confused with the 
Scotch who settled farther east in North Carolina. In 1735 a small 
colony of Highland Scotch came across the waters and settled on 
the upper Cape Fear River in the southeastern section of the State. 
Still later on, in 1739, a colony of three hundred and fifty of the 
Highland Scotch came over and settled in the same region. So well 
pleased were they with the beauty and natural wealth of the country 
that they wrote numerous letters to their kinsmen and friends in 
Scotland and urged them to come over and avail themselves of the 
cheap land and opportunities to be found here. The Carolina 
Colony was intensely interested in having the country settled as 
rapidly as possible, and so the Colonial Legislature enacted a statute 
exempting these new settlers from all forms of taxation for a period 
of ten years, and offered similar inducements to all others who 
would come here to establish permanent homes. The descendants 
of these people live today in Robeson, Scotland, and other Counties 
of southeastern North Carolina. 

While the Highland Scotch were settling the Cape Fear section, 
thousands of Scotch-Irish who fled the political and religious per- 
secutions to which they had been subjected in Ulster, Ireland, by 
the British Crown, were coming here to find new homes. A small 
number of these immigrants landed in Charleston, South Carolina, 
and made their way up the Pee Dee, the Catawba and the Keowee 
Rivers, but in much greater numbers others came direct to Phila- 

Kephart tells us that "the first frontiersmen of the Appalachians 
were those Swiss and Germans who began flocking to Pennsylvania 
about 1682. They settled westward of the Quakers in the fertile 
limestone belts at the foot of the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies. 
Here they formed the Quakers' buffer against the Indians, and, for 

252 Random Thoughts and the 

some time, theirs were the westernmost settlements of British sub- 
jects in America." But the two streams of Scotch-Irish — one from 
Charleston, and the other from Philadelphia, met in the North 
Carolina Province and formed the first settlements on the western 
edge of the Piedmont in the territory now embraced in the Counties 
that extend up the eastern and southern slopes, and to the top of the 
Blue Ridge. These people, having left their Homeland to escape 
political and religious persecution were seeking individual freedom 
and religious liberty in a land where they could establish democratic 
institutions of their own. They wanted room; and so they did not 
tarry long in the older settlements in the western part of the Pied- 
mont; but pushed beyond the western fringe of setlement amid 
the mountains. 

Daniel Boone had come, with his father's family, prior to 1760, 
from Pennsylvania, and settled in what is now Davie County, on 
the Yadkin. In front of the Courthouse at Mocksville, the County 
seat of Davie, there is a granite monument erected to the memory 
of Daniel Boone, which, among other things, tells us the location 
in that County of the cabin home of the great hunter and explorer. 

In 1761, Daniel Boone led a party of hunters from Pennsyl- 
vania and Virginia, into what is now East Tennessee, but then a 
part of North Carolina. He carried back with him to his home on 
the Yadkin, glowing accounts of the fertile soil, the beautiful 
country, and the abundant game in the wilderness he had visited, 
and during the years 1768-69, a considerable number of families 
from the eastern and southern slopes of the Blue Ridge, crossed 
the mountains, and on the Watauga, in what was then Western 
North Carolina, established the first permanent setlement in North 
Carolina, west of the Blue Ridge Range. 

It was about this time, 1771, that the Battle of Alamance was 
fought in Orange County, North Carolina. The trouble arose 
between the people on the one hand, the farmers, who lived in 
small houses and worked out a living with their own hands on 
their farms, and the rich trading and official classes on the coastal 
plain, on the other hand. The people organized under the name 
of "Regulators" and this was the first battle fought on American 
soil in resistance to the payment of unlawful taxes and the collec- 
tion of unlawful and extortionate fees. The Regulators were 
defeated in battle and many of them, with their families, fleeing 
from the misgovernment and the merciless persecution of the royal 

Musings of a Mountaineer 253 

Governor Try on, crossed over the Blue Ridge and joined the settle- 
ment on the Watauga. Here, in 1772, was organized the first 
republic in America. They adopted a written constitution, the first 
ever adopted by American-born free-men. They elected a Legis- 
lature, enacted laws for their own government, and through other 
duly constituted officers saw to it that their laws were enforced. 

In August, 1776, the Watuaga Settlement asked to be annexed 
to North Carolina proper. The request was made by a petition, 
which was signed by 113 men, all signing their own names except 
two, who signed by making their marks. It is said that there is no 
record that this petition was granted, but it is assumed that per- 
mission was granted, because at Halifax, at a convention held from 
November 13 to December 23, 1776, four men — John Carter, John 
Sevier, Charles Robertson, and John Haile, from the Watauga 
Settlement, helped frame the first free constitution in North Caro- 
lina. With very few modifications North Carolina operated under 
this constitution until 1868. It also appears that the Watauga 
association continued to operate its independent government until 
February, 1778, for the Legislature of North Carolina, at its Session 
in 1777, by Chapter 31, organized Washington County, whose 
boundaries were the same as the boundaries of the present State 
of Tennessee. Officers for this new County were elected in 1778, 
and the entire County came under the government of North 
Carolina. Thus was the first settlement established in the mountains 
of North Carolina. Following this the tide of empire swept across 
the Blue Ridge into the territory of the present Western North 

Sondley, in his history of Buncombe County, Volume I at page 
396 and following, tells us that in the latter part of 1784, Samuel 
Davidson came with his wife and infant daughter and a female 
servant across the Blue Ridge from Catawba River, and settled at 
Swannanoa, and built there his cabin home. Here, shortly after- 
wards, he was shot and killed from ambush by a party of Indians. 
His wife, child, and servant escaped and walked through the woods 
to Old Fort in the present County of McDowell. Sondley also 
says that shortly after the killing of Davidson a party of his rela- 
tives and friends came from the Catawba River settlements, crossed 
the mountains, formed a colony around the mouth of Bee Tree 
Creek, which has since been known in history as the "Swannanoa 
Settlements." This, according to Sondley, was the first permanent 

254 Random Thoughts and the 

settlement by white people within the territory of what is now the 
Carolina Mountains west of the Blue Ridge. From this beginning 
other settlements were formed, and the tide of immigration con- 
tinued to flow, from the older settlements along the western fringe 
of the Carolina Piedmont, from Virginia, from the settlements 
already established along the Watauga, and considerable numbers 
of Dutch from Pennsylvania. 

The names of our native people all over the mountains indicate 
the nationality of their ancestors. Everywhere you find a Scotch 
McKenzie, McCall, Mclntire, McFarland, Mcintosh, McDevitt 
and McGregor. We recognize the Dutch in the names of Ledbetter, 
Picklesimer, Underwood, Leatherwood, Hollyfield, Holloway, 
Underhill, Vanderhoof, Vanhook, Swayinger, and many others. 
The Emerald Isle speaks to us through the names of O'Neal, 
O'Brian, O'Connor, O'Leary, O'Mally, O'Kelly, Grady and Burke, 
while English names are the most common of all. 

In "Our Southern Highlanders", at page 151, Mr. Kephart says: 
"It was the Scotchmen, in the main, assisted by a good sprinkling 
of native Irish, and by the wilder blades among the Pennsylvania- 
Dutch, who drove out the Indians from the Alleghany border, 
formed our rear-guard in the Revolution, won that rough mountain 
section for civilization, left it when the game became scarce and 
neighbor's houses too frequent, followed the mountains Southward, 
settled Western Virginia and Carolina, and formed the vanguard 
westward into Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, and so onward 
till there was no longer a west to conquer. Some of their descendants 
remained behind in the fastnesses of the Alleghanies, the Blue 
Ridge, and the Unakas, and became, in turn, the progenitors of that 
peculiar race which by absurd pleonasm, is now commonly known 
as the 'Mountain Whites' but properly Southern Highlanders." 

Miss Margaret Morley, in "The Carolina Mountains", pages 
140, 141 and 142, has this to say about our mountain pioneers: 
"The truth is, the same people who occupied Virginia and the 
eastern part of Carolina peopled the western mountains, English 
predominating, and in course of time there drifted down from 
Virginia large numbers of Scotch-Irish, who, after the events of 
1730, fled in such numbers to the New World, and good Scotch 
Highlanders who came after 1745. In fact, so many of these staunch 
Northerners came to the North Carolina Mountains that they 
have given the dominant note to the character of the mountaineer 

Musings of a Mountaineer 255 

. . . The Celtic element has also strongly impressed a love of 
nature upon the people, as shown in their care of flowers and their 
pleasures in the beauties of the wilderness. They can tell you where 
to go for the finest views, and they know any peculiarity of rock or 
tree that may occur in their neighborhood . . . The 'Poor White' 
of the South must not for a moment be confounded with the 
'Mountain White', the latter having brought some of the best blood 
of his native land to these blue heights. He brought into the moun- 
tains and there nourished, the stern virtues of his race, including 
the strictest honesty, an old-fashioned self-respect, and an old- 
fashioned speech, all of which he yet retains, as well as a certain 
pride, which causes him to flare up instantly at any suspicion of 
being treated with condescension, this pride being one of the most 
baffling things to the stranger who never knows when he is going 
to run up against it. That the people are, for the most part, of 
English, Scotch, and Irish descent their names show." 

Such was the origin of the Carolina Mountaineers as it is re- 
corded in authentic history. 

In subsequent chapters I shall have something to say about how 
our pioneer ancestors — men of character and courage, and women 
of faith and culture, amid the hardships and hazards of an untamed 
wilderness, with the highest qualities of patience, self-sacrifice and 
fortitude carried the torch of civilization even to our remotest coves. 

For the verification of the facts set forth in the foregoing Chap- 
ter I refer the reader to H. G. Wells' "Outlines of History", Con- 
ner's "History of North Carolina", Sondley's "History of Bun- 
combe County", Kephart's "Our Southern Highlanders", Margaret 
Morley's "The Carolina Mountains", and Mooney's "Myths of 
the Cherokees." 




They go up by the mountains; they go down by 
the valleys unto the place thou hast founded for 
them. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, 
which run among the hills. They give drink to 
every beast of the field . . . By them shall the fowls 
of heaven have their habitation, which sing among 
the branches. He watereth the hills from his cham- 
bers . . . He causeth the grass to grow for the 
cattle and herb for the service of man . . . He 
appointeth the moon for the seasons; the sun 
knoweth his going down. The sun riseth, they 
gather themselves together . . . Man goeth forth 
to his work, and to his labor until the evening. 
Psalms, Chapter 104, parts verses 8 to 23, inclusive. 

The first of the Mountain Counties to be settled, as I am 
pleased to classify the Mountain Counties, were Surry, which was 
formed in 1770, from Rowan County; Wilkes, which was formed 
from Surry County in 1777; Burke, which was formed from 
Rowan County in 1777; and Rutherford, which was formed from 
Tryon County in 1779. 

The settlements in these Counties, even before the Revolutionary 
War, extended into the present Counties of Stokes, Alleghany, 
Ashe, Watauga, Caldwell, McDowell, and Polk, which were not 
organized as separate Counties until after the Revolution. 

As related in the preceding chapter, the Watauga Settlement 
was established in 1768-69, and had been incorporated into Wash- 
ington County, North Carolina, by Act of the Legislature in 1777. 

When the pioneers first commenced to settle the Carolina 
Mountains west of the Blue Ridge and South of the Unakas, there 
were no roads leading across the mountains, and travel by vehicle 
of any sort was impossible. But everywhere there were buffalo 
trails leading across the ridges from cove to cove and across the 


higher mountains from valley to valley. As the herds of buffalo 
traveled westward, these trails were used by the Indians in their 
hunting excursions and when going from one Indian village to 
another. They were on as perfect grades as if they had been sur- 
veyed by the best of engineers, and this was because it is the nature 
of the buffalo to follow the course of least resistance. Our first 
settlers used these trails when they crossed the mountains to settle 
the country now known as the Carolina Mountains west of the 
Blue Ridge. 

The pioneers came to this section over these buffalo-Indian trails, 
on foot or by horseback, and carried on pack mules or pack horses 
such clothing and household goods as they had, although it is said 
that some few of them undertook to haul their household goods 
on sleds. They did not bring much with them. Most of them had a 
few bed clothes, and a few articles of family clothing other than 
what they were wearing. Those who were so fortunate had a large 
pot, an oven and lid, a skillet, a frying pan, a wooden tray in which 
to mix meal for bread, a pair of pot hooks, and those who could 
afford it carried hand mills with which to grind grain. To the fore- 
going may be added a chopping axe, a foot-adze, a saw, the metallic 
part of a hoe, and a few plates and spoons, usually made of pewter; 
a frow for splitting boards, an auger, and a plow point. Of course 
each pioneer carried with him seeds of grain and vegetables for his 
first crop. A few of them brought young fruit trees — peach, apple, 
cherry, and plum — as is evidenced by apple trees here and there that 
are still bearing, and said to be more than a hundred and fifty 
years old. And you may be sure that every family had a Bible; 
for those sturdy pioneers were a religious folk, and were seeking 
religious freedom in a new and unsettled country. I have read, and 
have heard through tradition, that almost every family had a fiddle, 
and I think that this must be true, for otherwise we could not 
account for the fact that, to this good day, every community in 
the mountains has its old time fiddlers, "one of whom I was often 
which", as the old preacher said when he was comparing himself 
with the Saints. 

The male members of the family had each a trusty rifle, without 
which the pioneers could not have long survived, for the forests, 
were full of terrors and dangers — wolves, catamounts, panthers, 
and rattle snakes, and men more savage than any of these were 
inhabitants of the wilds. 

258 Random Thoughts and the 

When the pioneers reached a spot that pleased their fancy, there 
they stopped and commenced to build. Logs were cut for a cabin, 
and these, with the aid of horses, were dragged, or "snaked", on 
the ground to the cabin site, and then they were ready for the 
"house raising". The men did such work as this in gangs, for it 
was of a character that demanded collective cooperation and quick 
completion. Sometimes this orgnaization was due to the natural 
attraction such work had for daring souls, especially for a leader 
famed for his skill with axe, or broadaxe, or foot-adze. And then 
the logs were notched and the cabins were built. The rafters con- 
sisted of poles, resting on the "wall-plate", or top log, which was 
hewn flat and smooth on the top and was usually wider than the 
other wall logs; and as the rafters extended over the outer edge of 
this "wall-plate" a considerable space was left on it, which was later 
used for shelf room. 

With frow and mallet, boards were split for the cabin's roof, 
and when the boards were placed on the rafters they were fastened 
down with poles and stones; for when the first pioneer cabins were 
built there were no nails. The floors, tables, windows, and door 
shutters were made of puncheons, that is, of trees split open in the 
center by maul and wedge, and then hewn down with broadaxe and 
foot-adze so that the joints were made to fit almost as perfectly as 
if they had been made of plank and dressed in a planing mill. The 
chimneys were built of stone and red clay mortar. The cracks be- 
tween the logs with which the cabin was constructed were "chinked 
and daubed"; that is, the cracks were filled with sticks and small 
stones and then filled in with mortar made of mud. Next beds were 
built and were usually fastened to the walls, and, in the absence 
of chairs, stools and benches, without backs, were made upon 
which to sit. At first there were no panes for the windows. A wooden 
shutter made of puncheons was fitted into the openings fashioned 
in the walls by sawing out pieces of the logs, and these as well as 
the door shutters were hung on home made wooden hinges. 

After the completion of the cabin, log stables were built for 
horse and cow. His buildings being thus completed, the pioneer 
next turned his attention to the necessary means for the support of 
his family, relying in the main on his own keen eye and his sure- 
shooting rifle; for everywhere there were great herds of the sluggard 
buffalo, the majestic elk, and the fleet-footed deer, which, until the 
white man came, browsed in the forests undisturbed except by the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 259 

swift-winged messenger of death shot from the bow of the savage 

The woods were full of bear, raccoons, and squirrels fattened on 
chestnuts and hickory nuts; the rippling streams were alive with 
trout and fish of other kinds; and the land was fairly sweetened 
with honey, for wild bees swarmed through the forests as thick as 
mosquitoes in the swamps of Florida. 

We are told in Thwaite's Life of Daniel Boone that "at first 
buifaloes were so plentiful that a party of three or four men with 
dogs could kill from ten to twenty in a day; but soon the sluggish 
animals receded before the advance of the white men, hiding them- 
selves beyond the mountain wall." (See Thwaite's "Daniel Boone", 
pages 17 and 18. And at page 90 it is said: "They exhibited no 
fear until the wind blew from the hunters toward them, and then 
they would dash wildly away in large droves and disappear.") 
Thwaite says that until Daniel Boone settled permanently in Ken- 
tucky, he and many others spent their entire time hunting in the 
mountains, and regularly carried the hides and hams of buffalo 
and deer to the markets in Salisbury, where they were sold for cash 
or exchanged for sundry supplies. 

The very old men of Graham County have told me that when the 
territory now embraced within the boundaries of that County was 
first settled, the people were told by the old Indians living there that 
the last buffaloes seen in the mountanis of Western North Caro- 
lina were killed in that County, and from this fact East and West 
Buffalo Creeks and Buffalo Township derive their names. 

Down in the southeast corner of Macon County, near my native 
home, there is a low, swampy place known as "The Glades", and 
in that swamp there is a place which from the early days up to now 
has been known as "Buffalo Wallow." The old hunters said that 
the herds of buffalo were in the habit of coming to this place in 
hot weather to wallow in the mud. 

My ancestors, both on my father's and my mother's side, were 
pioneers — my father's people in Rutherford County, and my 
mother's people in what is now Jackson County. After assisting as 
a Colonel in the United States Army, in the removal of the 
Cherokee Indians to the Indian Territory, my father and mother 
settled in Whiteside Cove, in the southern part of the present 
County of Jackson. With the exception of my mother's parents 
their nearest neighbor lived five miles away. Their first habitation 

260 Random Thoughts and the 

was the typical pioneer one-room cabin. I, myself, am almost a 
pioneer. At all events, as a young boy, I lived under primitive 
conditions. I well remember the old tar-axle wagon whose spindles 
were greased with tar extracted by means of heat from pitch or very 
rich pine. On cold nights this tar would freeze and the oxen would 
pull the wagon a half mile with the wheels locked, or until the 
tar melted sufficiently to loosen the wheels. After the wheels were 
thus released you could hear the wagon creak for another half 

I was the youngest child in a family of ten. My father was 
nearly sixty years of age when I was born; and I knew several old 
hunters who were a generation older than my father. I particularly 
remember old "Uncle Bobby McCall" who lived only a few miles 
away, and whose descendants still live as first rate citizens in the 
same community. This old gentleman often visited my father, and 
sometimes he would prolong these visits for a week at a time. It is 
said that he spent his entire life as a huntsman; or, at least, as long 
as he was able to see and travel, he having lived to be nearly a 
hundred years of age. In my imagination I can see him now, with 
his snow-white hair and beard, sitting in the corner by a blazing 
fire, smoking his cob pipe, as he made my hair stand on end and my 
flesh creep, while he recounted his hunting exploits, and his en- 
counters with enraged panthers, bears, and wolves. He killed many 
buffaloes in his time; and I have heard him say, and I have heard 
my father and mother and others say, that in those early days it 
was nothing unusual to see fifty deer in one herd and fifty wild 
turkeys in one flock, while other edible fowls and animals were 
just as plentiful. 

When their buildings were finished every pioneer cleared a field, 
split rails from chestnut trees with wooden mauls, iron wedges, and 
wooden gluts, and enclosed his field with a rail fence. These fences 
were built "horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight," which, being 
interpreted, means that the fences were so constructed that they 
kept domestic and wild animals on the outside. The fields were 
cleared by digging or "grubbing" up the bushes and saplings, "root 
and branch", with a mattock. Only the smaller trees were cut 
down, and these were used for fire wood. The larger trees were 
"deadened", that is, they were chopped clear around with an axe, 
each stroke of the axe going through the sap. August was thought 
to be the best month for "deadening", as experience proved that the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 261 

tree would be more likely to die if deadened in that month. After 
a few years these trees would begin to fall. They were then cut into 
lengths ten or fifteen feet long, and the neighbors were invited to 
a "log-rolling". The logs were rolled, or carried by means of "hand- 
spikes", and piled into "log-heaps" and then burned. Timber had 
no great value then except as it was used to meet primitive demands, 
and the forests were so vast and dense that there appeared to be an 
inexhaustible supply. I have been to many log-rollings when whole 
poplar and walnut trees were cut, piled into heaps and burned. 
Such trees would now bring one hundred dollars per thousand feet. 
The first lumber my father used was sawn by a "whip-saw", which 
was practically the same as the more modern "cross-cut". A log 
was rolled on to a frame and one man stood on the ground and 
the other on the frame, and the log sawn into lumber. 

When the pioneer made his crop and thus provided for his next 
year's bread, he spent the remainder of the year in hunting. Until 
they commenced raising cattle, sheep, and hogs for domestic use, 
hunting and the killing of wild animals to supply their tables was 
absolutely essential. There was very little money in those days, and 
the principal medium of exchange was pelts or the cured hides of 
animals. These, with deer, buffalo, and bear hams were carried on 
pack horses to the markets in central North Carolina and to South 
Carolina and other contiguous States, and there exchanged for salt, 
iron, powder, lead, and other necessaries that could not be produced 
in the mountains. 

We are told that the flint-lock, long barreled rifle was used by 
the pioneers, and in fact remained in use throughout the mountains 
until about the commencement of the Civil War. These early 
hunters became unerring marksmen, and it was essential that they 
should be so, because if they missed the first shot, before they could 
wipe out their rifles, recharge them with powder from the ever 
present powder horn, and then take a bullet from the shot-pouch, 
"ramrod" it down the rifle barrel, and then "prime" the flint-lock 
pan with powder, the animal that escaped the first shot would be 
a mile away. It was this "sure shooting" that stood the mountain 
men in such good stead at the battle of King's Mountain, and in the 
many bloody fights with the Indians. 

The time came, while the settlements in the mountains were still 
young, that iron was discovered, and mines were opened and op- 
erated in Stokes, Ashe, Mitchell, Transylvania, Buncombe, Chero- 

262 Random Thoughts and the 

kee, and other Counties. This iron ore was smelted in furnaces pre- 
pared for the purpose, and then hammered into bars at the forges, 
and then sold to the settlers. Each farmer was his own blacksmith, 
and made his own hoes, plows, shovels, horse shoes, nails, etc. 
Following this discovery of iron, tools became more plentiful, and 
better methods of farming were introduced. Every farmer had his 
tanning trough. This was nothing more than a trough cut out of the 
upper side of a large log. In this trough the hides of cattle were 
tanned with chestnut oak or hemlock bark, part of the hides being 
tanned for "upper" leather and part for "sole" leather, and from 
the leather tanned in this manner the mountaineer's shoes were 

There were traveling shoe-makers in those old days. The shoe- 
maker would stay at a home until he had made shoes for every 
member of the family, and then go from house to house until he 
had "shod" every family in the community. In the same trough in 
which the cattle hides were tanned, deer hides and ground-hog 
skins were also tanned for shoe-strings and "whang" leather, that 
is, leather cut into strings to be used in making or mending harness. 

For many years after the pioneers came they had no means of 
weaving cloth. They had no money with which to buy it, even if 
there had been any cloth conveniently purchasable. So the first 
settlers dressed in skins. A tow-cloth hunting shirt, buckskin 
breeches, with leggings and moccasins of the same material, and a 
cap made of the skin of a coon, beaver, otter, or fox constituted 
the male pioneer's raiment. It is said, however, that the men man- 
aged to do a little better by their women folk; for cloth suitable 
for women's clothing in a frontier settlement was brought back on 
their return trips from the markets, although skins continued for 
many years to form part of women's clothing, as they likewise did 
in the make-up of the bed-clothing. 

But, at that, their plight was not so bad as that of our primeval 
parents. We are told that at first, Adam and Eve wore no clothes 
at all. In those first days in the history of the human race, Eve was 
attired only in sunshine, while Adam was clad only in climate. 
It is true that after they had tasted the fruit which hung in fatal 
fascination from the branches of the Forbidden Tree, their eyes 
were opened, and then, for the first time, they discovered that they 
were naked, whereupon they sewed together some fig leaves and 
made themselves aprons; but it was not until after they had been 

Musings of a Mountaineer 263 

driven from Eden's ambrosial bowers, and the sword of Retribu- 
tion had been hung above the gates of the Garden, and they had 
been forever closed against the children of men, that the Lord 
made coats of skins and clothed them. In the early days, grist mills 
came into use in the mountains and were operated by water power. 
These mills are still used all through the mountains. 

After the first few years the pioneers began raising sheep, not 
only for mutton, but for their wool. Looms, spinning wheels, reels, 
winding blades, and warping bars were constructed; cards were 
procured, and most of the pioneer women learned the art of weaving 
cloth. The sheep were sheared by hand. The next step in the process 
of weaving cloth was to pick the sticks and burs from the wool, 
and it was then washed as many times as might be necessary to 
make it perfectly clean and white. Then with coarse cards, called 
"breaking cards", the wool was carded into large flat rolls, called 
"bats". * 

These rolls, or bats were then thoroughly greased with lard, 
after which, when the wool became perfectly dry, with finer cards 
the bats were carded into small, round rolls of equal length with 
the cards, which were usually ten or twelve inches long. When the 
desired quantity of rolls had been made, a piece of corn shuck was 
twisted around the spindle of the wheel, one end of the roll was 
then pressed against the spindle, which turned as the wheel was 
made to revolve, and when the roll became fastened to the shuck 
on the spindle, it was drawn out as the spinner walked backward 
until the roll was spun into a thread, whereupon the wheel was 
reversed and caused to revolve backward, while the spinner walked 
forward and wound the thread around the shuck so fastened to the 
spindle of the wheel. When as much thread as the shuck would 
hold had been wound around it, the finished product became a 
brooch, with a corn shuck core. When the rolls had all been spun 
and wound on the brooches in this manner, the thread was "reeled". 
The brooches were then placed in a basket or other receptacle and 
wound on the reel into "hanks" or "skeins". Under the older process 
the revolutions of the reel had to be counted in order to know 
when the hank or skein was of the proper size, but finally a device 
was invented which, when attached to the reel, would crack when 
the reel had made a hundred revolutions, that number being neces- 
sary before the hank or skein was of proper size. Next, a quill 
made of wild cane, was placed on the spindle of the spinning wheel, 

264 Random Thoughts and the 

and the hanks on skeins of thread were put on the "winding blades" 
which consisted of a wheel that turned on a socket on an uprgiht 
frame. The winding blades revolved horizontally instead of per- 
pendicularly as the reel and spinning wheel revolved. A quill was 
then placed on the spindle of the spinning wheel, and the thread 
was wound off the winding blades until the quill was full. Four 
of these hanks would make a yard of cloth, and when the thread 
was so placed on the quills, the quills were ready for the shuttle. 
When the thread was thus prepared it was called the "filling" or 
the "woof". Next the "chain" or "warp" was prepared. For most 
kinds of cloth the chain or warp was composed of cotton thread 
which came in very large hanks. These hanks were first put on the 
winding blades and wound on "spools", usually made of corncobs, 
with the pith removed so they could be put on the spindle of the 
wheel. Some people had "warping bars" built on movable frames, 
but as a rule auger holes were bored in the side of a log crib or 
barn, with round, wooden pins driven into them, and the warping 
bars made in this manner were stationary and more or less perma- 
nent. The corncob spools were placed on perpendicular pins fastened 
into a frame built for that purpose. The thread was then drawn 
back and forth from one end of the warping bars to the other, 
as it was unwound from the spools, until sufficient thread was 
"warped" for the number of yards which the proposed web of 
cloth was to contain. The chain when so warped was wound around 
the beam at the back of the loom and the loose ends of the threads 
were then passed through the harness and then through slays, 
which are made of split reeds and built in as part of the batten, 
the last named being a movable bar which strikes in or closes the 
thread of the woof. Each quill with the woolen thread wound 
around it was placed in the shuttle; with one foot the weaver pressed 
down a pedal, which caused the chain to separate, thereby leaving 
a space with half the threads above and half below; the shuttle 
was thrown through this space by one hand and caught by the 
other, leaving therein a thread of the woof; then with the other 
hand the weaver would bang the batten against the thread, two 
licks for single cloth such as linsey, three licks for jeans, and four 
licks for woolen blankets, bed-spreads, and coverlets. When the 
cloth was woven it was tailored at home and sewn by hand, for 
it was not until comparatively recent years that the sewing machine 
appeared. All of the foregoing equipment for the weaving of cloth 

Musings of a Mountaineer 265 

was made by hand, and for many years it was made of timbers 
hewn from trees. When the saw mill came into use such equipment 
could be made with less difficulty. In this manner the mountain 
men and women were clothed for many generations and except in 
isolated instances among the more well-to-do where men wore 
broadcloth, and the women wore silks, the mountaineers wore 
home-spun until forty or fifty years ago. 

For the greater part of the first sixteen years of my life I was a 
"house-ridden" invalid, and it was part of my occupation during 
this period to help "pick" the wool, card the "bats", and "warp" 
the "chain", preparatory to the weaving of the cloth. I could never 
learn to card the rolls, for I would invariably get too much or too 
little wool into them, and to make the thread as it should be it was 
important that the rolls be of uniform size. 

Hundreds of days and hundreds of nights until midnight, I 
have listened to the hum of the flying shuttle, the banging of the 
drumming batten, and the whir of the spinning wheel, mingling 
their music with the music of the wind as it sighed through the 
pines and the oaks that stood in the yard, while the white woolen 
thread vanished from the whirling quills, only to reappear a little 
later in heavy bolts of blankets, linsey, and jeans. 

I was the youngest of five brothers, and by the time clothes 
had been made for my father and these older brothers, the jeans 
was about all gone; and so my clothes were usually made of scraps 
left over from the other suits. I never had a full suit of clothes 
made of the same kind of cloth until I was sixteen years of age, 
and I was seventeen when my first suit was bought from a store. 
I have had many a coat and many a pair of trousers (breeches) 
made of scraps of jeans of five different colors — gray, blue, brown, 
black, and tan. But such raiment was good enough for me, for I 
had nowhere particularly to go. 

It may be that these multi-colored clothes cannot be said to have 
been "a thing of beauty", but it can be said with truth that they 
were "a joy forever", for it was impossible to wear them out; be- 
sides, they were comfortable, and they defied the cold of winter. 

All through the mountains the soil of the coves and valleys was 
exceedingly fertile, the climate was mild for eight months in the 
year, and the range was free, and the live stock of every man 
grazed undisturbed on his neighbor's land; and cove and valley, hill 
top and mountain side was one unbroken pasture of luxuriant wild 

266 Random Thoughts and the 

grasses which grew high enough to be mown for hay. And so, 
after a while, the principal wealth of the well-to-do was in herds 
of horses, cattle, and sheep, and in droves of long-snouted "razor- 
back" hogs. Every year droves of such live stock were driven on 
foot to the markets in Augusta, Charleston, and other southern 

In those days and until recent years, chestnut trees formed from 
one-third to one-half of the trees in the mountain forests. Now 
nearly every chestnut tree has been killed by a devastating blight, 
for the eradication of which science has so far been unable to 
find a remedy; but during the periods of which I am writing every 
land owner had his herd of "razor-back" hogs roaming freely in 
the woods, and multiplying of their own accord. 

At the falling of the leaves in autumn time the ground was 
covered with chestnuts, hickory nuts, and acorns, and upon this 
"fruit" of the forest the hogs feasted until they became so fat that 
they could hardly walk. They were then driven home by faithful 
hounds trained for that purpose, and were put into a lot until "hog- 
killing day". As many as might be necessary to provide bacon and 
hams for the ensuing year were put into pens and fed on corn for 
a few weeks for the purpose of "hardening the tallow", for "mast- 
fed" pork, although it is a most toothsome morsel while fresh, does 
not make good bacon. On "hog-killing day" stones were heated in 
log-heaps, and put into barrels until the water reached the right 
temperature; the slain hog was then put into the barrel and the 
hair scraped off with butcher knives, and when the "killing" was 
finished and the hogs "dressed", a wagon was loaded with whole 
dressed hogs and carried to market where they were exchanged for 
flour, sugar, coffee, salt, pepper, matches, and other articles in suf- 
ficient quantities to last for a year. But be it remembered that the 
entire hog was utilized — head, feet, backbones, ribs, middlings, 
shoulders, and hams. Even the hair was saved to be used in the 
making of harness and cushions. And in those good old days it 
would have been considered a sin, or at least a sinful waste, not to 
save the "chitterlings." But you seldom see chitterlings in the 
mountains in these modern days of fashion and fastidious tastes. 
The colored people, however, remain true to their "first love". They 
go around to the "hog-killings" and gather up the chitterlings, and 
then invite the neighbors in to supper, and call it a "chitterling 
strut", at so much per strut. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 267 

But even to this day, in Georgia, South Carolina, and Central 
and Eastern North Carolina, the chitterling is still a favored dish. 
In the wealthy and progressive City of Winston-Salem there is a 
social club, duly chartered, organized, and existing, with duly 
elected officers, and with a large membership composed of lawyers, 
doctors, teachers, and business men, which was formed under the 
name of "The Cheerful Chitterling Chewers Club." Under this 
name the club has been functioning for several years, and I am 
informed that there is a mandatory provision in its constitution 
that requires the club to have at least four "chitterling struts" each 
year. I was invited to attend the "strut" held in the early part of 
December, 1939. I attended the supper, and when the meal was 
finished my application for membership was voted on by the whole 
house. There are three requirements for admission. You must be 
a man of good character; you must pay an initiation fee of ten 
cents; and you must demonstrate to the attending membership that 
at this particular supper you have eaten at least three yards of 
chitterlings! Reade Johnson, prominent attorney of Winston-Salem, 
whose guest I was on this delightful occasion, vouched for my 
character, and paid my fee, and I fulfilled the third requirement 
in person. I was unanimously elected; after which I was required 
to subscribe to the following obligation: "In the presence of the 
members of this honorable fraternity I pledge, on my most sacred 
honor, that I will never divulge the secrets of this noble fraternity; 
that I will never kick a hog when he is down; that I will never 
punch a hog below the belt; I will never do anything that will dis- 
grace a hog; that I will so live as to keep myself physically and 
mentally fit to eat chitterlings on all occasions when they are within 
reach; that upon receiving information that a brother of this fra- 
ternity is sick, instead of sendnig him flowers, I will send him a 
plate of chitterlings!" 

When an applicant is elected to membership in the Cheerful 
Chitterling Chewer's Club, ipso facto he becomes a member of the 
National organization, which issues to him a beautifully printed 
certificate. Mine is in words and figures as follows: 

"Society of Tripe and Chitterling Eaters of America: 

This is to certify that Judge Felix E. Alley is a full-fledged 
member of the Society of Tripe and Chitterling Eaters of America; 
that he is qualified for this high and exalted honor for having 
displayed during the depression-swept, bank-bursting period of 

268 Random Thoughts and the 

falling prices and empty pocket books, the intestinal fortitude and 
courage characteristic of a heads-up and chest-out he-man; and 
that he is here now and hereby, now and forevermore entitled to all 
the high social and political honors, emoluments, rights, privileges, 
and prerogatives attached and appertaining to the membership of 
this great, grand, and glorious Society. 

(Signed) B. J. Findley, 

Exalted Long Chitterling 
D. N. Hire 

Chief Big Tripe 
W. B. Clinard 

Grand Noble Short Chitterling." 

So I bid the chitterling lover to take hope, for it seems to me 
that if a club such as the one above described can be successfully 
organized and operated by the intelligencia of a progressive city 
like Winston-Salem, that fact alone furnishes plenary and con- 
vincing proof that the present generation is making such progress 
in the theory and practice of gastronomy that the humble chitter- 
ling of ancient fame and renown may be restored to its former 
prestige, and again come into common, general, and approved use. 
If that glad day is destined to come, I hope that it will be in my 
time, for the most toothsome morsel that ever passed my lips is a 
chitterling prepared and cooked a la mode, except it be a rasher 
carved from the ham of a razor-back hog which has been fattened 
on chestnuts. 

Many years ago a preacher by the name of Ham held some 
meetings up in our mountain country. He was intrdouced to a 
certain mountaineer who did not at first understand the preacher's 
name. So he said: "I beg your pardon, but I failed to get your 
name." Whereupon the preacher said: "Well, you just think of that 
part of the hog which you consider the best part, and you will have 
my name." Instantly the mountaineer grabbed the preacher by the 
hand, began pumping it up and down, and exclaimed: "Why, 
howdy-do, Mr. Chitterling; I shore am glad to shake hands with 
the best part of a hog!" 

At last roads were built in the mountains, connecting not only 
the various communities, but leading across the Blue Ridge to the 
older settlements in North Carolina, and across the mountains 
into Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. These 

Musings of a Mountaineer 269 

roads followed the course of least resistance, being constructed on 
the banks of the streams where possible, and, of course, the con- 
struction of them required a period of years; for all of them were 
made with free and voluntary labor, with no other tools than the 
shovel, pick, and mattock. 

As the roads were built mail routes were established, and the 
mails were carried on horseback and by stage, and thus was com- 
munication established connecting the communities with one an- 
other, and with the settlements in this and other States. 

Log churches and schoolhouses were built, although for many 
years there were no public schools; but be it remembered that the 
first school law ever enacted for North Carolina was not enacted 
until the year 1839. Much earlier than that, however, many families 
throughout the mountains employed private teachers for the edu- 
cation of their children, and here and there private schools were 
conducted for a part of each year, each family paying a certain 
amount to provide a fund for the teacher's salary. When the first 
public school law was passed, and for many years thereafter, the 
public schools thereby authorized were of but little benefit to the 
remote and smaller districts in the mountain Counties. The public 
school money was derived from a tax on property, and the money 
thus collected was apportioned to each District in proportion to the 
amount of taxes paid by that District. The result was that in my 
District in Whiteside Cove the public money amounted to a sum 
sufficient to pay a teacher $20.00 per month for a term of six 
weeks. Sometimes that fund was supplemented by the private sub- 
scriptions of the patrons, and in this manner the six weeks was 
extended for two or three months. 

It was not until Charles B. Aycock was elected to the Governor's 
Office in 1900, that the public schools were of any great value to 
the youth of the mountains. Laws were enacted permitting (at first) 
Townships and (later) separate Districts each to vote a special tax 
for the purpose of raising money to supplement the County school 
fund. Elections for this purpose were held in a great many Districts, 
and numerous school terms were lengthened by means of such local 
taxes. But, while for several generations the children of the pioneers 
had but little education that is obtained from books, but it must not 
be understood that they were without knowledge. The open book 
of nature was always before them. They knew the ways of the 
wilderness; they understood storms and floods, the trees and forests, 

270 Random Thoughts and the 

the wild animals and the Indians; and they knew how to live in 
the mountain fastnesses, where they were surrounded by thousands 
of hidden dangers. 

Such was the life that our pioneer mountaineers lived; and not- 
withstanding the hardships incident to such a life, it was a happy 
and contented life, too. 

Stoves and cooking ranges were unknown in those days, and the 
fireplace in every dwelling extended nearly across the end of the 
house. In many of them there was a swinging crane, on which to 
hang the pots above the fire when cooking was being done. But let 
no one think that they did not "fare sumptuously every day." 
There is something abnormal about an appetite that could crave 
more or better food than they enjoyed. Corn "dodger" baked in 
an oven on the open hearthstone in front of the fire, with oak or 
hickory bark coals beneath the oven and on the lid; venison, buffalo, 
or elk steak; wild turkey, pheasant, quail, or mountain trout; bear 
or raccoon pork, with home grown vegetables and wild greens; tea 
made of sassafras roots or spice-wood twigs, sweetened with wild 
honey stolen from sour-wood blossoms by bees which had their 
habitat in a hollow black-gum tree; or milk cooled in an ice-cold 
spring gushing out from the heart of a hill — such food was not 
only "fit for a King", but surpassed the fabled ambrosia of the 
Grecian Gods, which was believed to confer eternal life. 

The pride of the pioneer man was to raise crops from the fertile 
soil, to be persistent and expert in the pursuit and slaughter of wild 
game to provide for his family, and to be brave and courageous in 
the protection of his wife and children from ferocious beasts and 
savage men. And the glory of the woman was to labor by day and 
by night, both in the house and out of doors, to aid her husband, 
in feeding, clothing, and maintaining the family. These pioneers 
were content with the plain, substantial things of life, and they 
had no luxuries. They cultivated social and friendly habits, lived 
economically, and lived by the code that everyone was their neighbor 
who was within their reach and needed assistance that they could 

There were very few doctors to be called in, as now, to diagnose 
every ache and pain. There were no druggists to fill prescriptions 
written in the language of ancient Rome. There were no hospitals, 
no trained nurses, no funeral homes. But the Creator Himself had 
planted in the rich soil of the mountains herbs in countless variety 

Musings of a Mountaineer 271 

to cure or mitigate every ill, and so, every man was a doctor and 
every woman a nurse. 

If there was serious sickness in a family, rich or poor, the 
neighbors came in and rendered every possible service until the 
patient recovered or died; and if the patient died, the neighbors 
made the coffin, dug the grave, and buried the dead. 

In my own experience I have seen it occur many times that in 
case of serious sickness in a family in the early spring, the neigh- 
bors would gather together on a given day and plow and prepare 
the land and plant the crop. If the sickness occurred later on in 
the season, they would get together a sufficient number of men, 
horses, plows, and hoes to cultivate a ten acre field of corn in a day. 
And if the sickness occurred in the autumn time, in the same way 
these Golden Rule neighbors would harvest the crop. 

When a farmer gathered his corn crop in the fall he would pile 
it in a large heap by the side of the crib, and the neighbors would 
gather in and shuck (husk) his entire crop in a day. If a man 
desired to build a new house or a barn, he would prepare his logs, 
and the neighbors would congregate early, and by night fall the 
house or barn would be ready for the roof. If he desired to clear 
a "new-ground" the neighbors came in and helped; or if he had 
cleared the land himself, the neighbors would come and help him 
"roll" his logs, at a "log-rolling" that would last all day, and at a 
"rail-splitting" they would split enough ten-foot chestnut rails in 
a day to fence a ten-acre field. 

They knew and appreciated the Parable of the Good Samaritan, 
and they practiced altruism from altruistic motives. They may 
have been uncouth, untutored, and uncombed, as it has often been 
said by outside writers, but they were strong of arm and noble of 
heart. They were strong, sturdy, self-reliant men and women, whose 
red-blooded courage made it possible for them to carve our great 
mountain empire out of a raw and rugged wilderness. In their day, 
virtue stood erect and walked with majestic stride through land, 
while vice fled from the gaze of honest men, or hid its ugly de- 
formity in the secret dwelling place of the solitary villain. 

The pioneers lived honorable, upright, clean, and wholesome 
lives, and they died as a rule, in extreme old age, at peace with 
their neighbors and their God. 

Much of the foregoing chapter is based on my own experience 
as a "near-pioneer", and from information that I have gathered 


throughout my life from talking with very old men. I also refer 
the reader to Arthur's History of Western North Carolina, Grif- 
fin's History of Old Tryon and Rutherford County, and Kephart's 
Our Southern Highlanders. 



(They) quenched the violence of fire, escaped the 
edge of the sword, out of weakness were made 
strong, waxed valiant in fight, (and) turned to 
flight the armies of the aliens. 

, Hebrews, Chapter 11: 34. 

Several years ago while I was practicing law, I defended a man 
who was indicted for a homicide, and, much to the sorrow and 
disappointment of both of us, my client was convicted by the jury 
of murder in the second degree. 

I then proceeded to appeal for mercy for him before a Judge 
whose home was in one of the eastern Counties of the State. A 
lawyer from a distant County, who, in his younger days, had been 
a stenographer, was present when I made my appeal, and he wrote, 
in shorthand, the colloquy that occurred between the Judge and 
me, the substance of which I quote below, my lawyer friend having 
furnished me a copy some years later. 

My client had based his right to a verdict of not guilty on the 
plea of self-defense. As I was proceeding with my appeal the Judge 
inquired: "Your mountaineers are rather free to fight, are they 
not?" I replied: "I am not sure that I understand just what your 
Honor means." Said the Judge: "I mean to ask if it is not char- 
acteristic of the mountaineer that he will fight on the slightest pre- 
text?" To this question I made the following reply, as my lawyer 
friend noted it at the time: "No, sir, the mountaineer does not 
fight on the slightest pretext, but he will fight for his righs. Zeb 
Vance was a mountaineer, and he fough, not on the slightest pre- 
text, but because he was willing to give his life for the Southern 
Cause. My father was a mountaineer, and he fough. He was a 
soldier of two wars, besides serving as a Colonel of the Militia 
in the removal of the Cherokee Indians. He fought, not on the 
slightest pretext, but because he believed his cause was just. It was 

274 Random Thoughts and the 

the men of the North Carolina mountains who met the "red coats" 
and the glittering steel of England in the Battle of King's Moun- 
tain. They fought there, not on the slightest pretext, but for a 
victory that made possible the triumphant glory of Yorktown. And 
it was the Thirtieth Division, composed largely of Carolina Moun- 
taineers, that broke the Hindenburg Line, and stayed the bloody 
hand of Germany in her murderous assault on all mankind. Oh, 
yes, the mountaineer will fight, not on the slightest pretext, but in 
defense of his lawful rights; and he has contempt for danger when 
he deems his quarrel just." 

When I uttered the above words, I described the true character- 
istics of the average mountaineer, for it is a fact which will be 
readily conceded by all who know them, that among the Carolina 
Mountaineers there is nothing more common than courage, and 
nothing so rare as cowardice. Such has been the character of our 
mountaineers from the time of the first pioneers; and they have 
demonstrated their courage on many a bloody battle field. 

During the first years of the Revolutionary War, the mountain 
section did not suffer much from the conflict. The Cherokee 
Indians were irreconcilably hostile to the Americans. They had 
been previously armed by England, and the British Government 
was unremitting in its efforts to secure their active assistance. The 
white mountaineers, however, had been able to prevent the Chero- 
kees from joining the British Army in South Carolina and Georgia; 
consequently North Carolina was free from invasion by the British 
until after Charleston fell in May, 1780. Following the fall of 
Charleston, Sir Henry Clinton spent his time for the next few weeks 
in issuing proclamations and laying plans for the overthrowing of 
North Carolina. He divided the country into sections with different 
officers in charge, to whom had been delegated authority to organ- 
ize and regulate all volunteer troops among the inhabitants, to 
ascertain the amount of grain and the number of live stock and 
report to Lord Cornwallis. These duties were entrusted in large 
part to Major Ferguson in Western North Carolina. 

The younger men were drilled by him and his subordinate of- 
ficers and prepared for active service. During the months of June 
and July, 1780, large parties were sent out to apprehend all "rebel" 
leaders who could be found. The horses of Ferguson's men were 
turned loose in fields of grain; his soldiers ruthlessly slaughtered 
cattle in the woods; and patriots were arrested and sent to prison 

Musings of a Mountaineer 275 

at Ninety-Six in South Carolina, for no other reason than that they 
were supporting the American cause. 

An invasion like Ferguson's, with its depredations and its hor- 
rors, and the uprising of the Tories, inevitably led to bitter con- 

During the following summer months Ferguson ranged back and 
forth across the State line, searching for prominent Whigs or 
Patriots, plundering the people wherever he went, and administering 
the oath of allegiance to Great Britain to all he could induce to 
take it. 

On the 29th day of August, 1780, Lord Cornwallis of the British 
Army made the following announcement to Sir Henry Clinton: 
"Ferguson is to move into Tryon County, with some militia." Soon 
thereafter Ferguson, with his soldiers, came into Rutherford County, 
which, along with Lincoln County, had been formed from Tryon 
County in 1777. He made his camp at Gilbert Town, which was 
the first county seat of Rutherford County, and was situated one 
mile north of Rutherfordton, the present county seat. From every 
direction people came to Gilbert Town, the headquarters of this 
famous officer of the British Army, believing that, in view of the 
fall of Charleston, and of the other reverses suffered by the 
Americans in South Carolina, the American cause was now a 
lost cause. 

While stationed at Gilbert Town, Ferguson led his forces against 
Colonel McDowell's men, who were encamped at the head of Cane 
Creek in what is now Burke County. The British had their camp 
at White Oak Springs, a mile or so to the east of the village of 
Brindletown in the southeastern part of Burke County (as it is 
now formed), on the road leading from Morgantown (Morgan- 
ton) to Gilbert Town. After learning the British position, Mc- 
Dowell, realizing that his force was too small to meet the enemy in 
open battle, waylaid them at Bedford's Mill in the southeast corner 
of what is now McDowell County. At this place an indecisive 
battle occurred. The British succeeded in driving McDowell's 
forces back; but McDowell's men, in a well-planned bush-whacking 
movement, in which their comparative weakness could not be 
ascertained, inflicted, with their unerring markmanship, consid- 
erbale havoc upon the British and the Tories. 

In the year 1840, at the point here described, a considerable 
number of British and Tory sckeletons were uncovered. 

276 Random Thoughts and the 

Major Dunlap of the English Army was here wounded in the 
leg and was carried by Ferguson's men back to Gilbert Town; 
while McDowell and his men, numbering one hundred and sixty, 
going up the Catawba Valley, hurried across the Blue Ridge to 
the Watauga settlements in what is now Tennessee. 

The British had exhausted their food supply, and, after the 
battle of Cane Creek, part of Ferguson's forces went into the 
territory now embraced in McDowell County, as far as to Old Fort, 
looking for cattle and supplies. But, obedient to the warning of 
Colonel McDowell and his men, the people had driven their cattle 
into the mountain fastnesses and Ferguson's men had no choice 
except to return empty-handed to Gilbert Town. 

In the weeks that followed, marauding bands, composed of 
British soldiers and Tories, went over the country, plundering and 
stealing everything they could make use of and keeping the people 
of the county in continual fear and terror. 

In the meantime, "while at Gilbert Town, Ferguson heard that 
Jonathan Hampton, a son of Colonel Andrew Hampton, residing 
in the vicinity of Gilbert Town, held the King's authority in great 
contempt; that he had the hardihood to accept a commission of 
Justice of the Peace from the Rebel Government of North Caro- 
lina, and had only recently ventured, by virtue of that official 
instrument, to unite Thomas Fleming and a neighboring young 
lady in the holy bonds of wedlock. A party of four or five hundred 
men was dispatched, under Majors Plummer and Lee, to visit the 
Hampton settlement, four or five miles southwest of Gilbert Town, 
to apprehend young Hampton, and possibly entrap his father at 
the same time. But Colonel Hampton had left the day before, and 
reunited with McDowell's forces. Riding up to young Hampton's 
cabin, they found him sitting at the door, fastening his leggings, 
and getting himself in readiness to follow his father to the Whig 
camp in some secluded locality in the mountain coves of that 
region. At this moment James Miller and Andrew and David 
Dickey, three Whig friends, came within hailing distance and 
hallooed: "Jonathan, are those men in the yard friends or foes?" 
Hampton, without exercising ordinary prudence, replied: "Who- 
ever you are, they are d — Red Coats and Tories — clear your- 
selves!" As they started to run, the Tories fired two or three volleys 
at them; but they fortunately escaped unhurt. Perhaps Hampton 
presumed somewhat on his partially crippled condition that for- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 277 

bearance would be shown him, for he was reel- footed; yet managed 
to perform many a good service for his country, and, as in this 
case, would lose sight of self, when he could help to benefit friends. 
Mrs. Hampton chided him for his imprudence, saying: 'Why, 
Jonathan, you are the most unguarded man I ever saw.' 

The Tory party cursed him for a d — Rebel, and Major Lee 
knocked him down and tried to ride over him, but the horse 
jumped clear over his body without touching him. Hampton and 
his wife's brother, Jacob Hyder, were made prisoners; and those 
who had Hampton in charge swore that they would hang him on 
the spot, and began to uncord his bed for the purpose, when Mrs. 
Hampton ran to Major Plummer with alarm, and he promptly 
interposed to prevent the threatened execution. Major Plummer 
informed Hampton if he could give security for his appearance 
the next day at Gilbert Town, he might remain over night at home. 
He tried several Loyalists he knew, but they declined; and finally 
Major Plummer himself offered to be his security. According to 
appointment, the next day Hampton presented himself to Ferguson 
at Gilbert Town, who proceeded to examine his case. When asked 
his name, he frankly told him, adding, that, though in the power 
of his enemies, he would never deny the honored name of Hampton. 

Major Dunlap, then on crutches, entering the room, inquired of 
Colonel Ferguson the name of the Rebel on trial. 'Hampton/ 
replied Ferguson. This seemed to arouse Dunlap's ire, who replied 
thoughtfully: 'Hampton, Hampton — that's the name of a fine 
looking Rebel I killed a while since on the head of Pacolet,' refer- 
ring to the affair at Earl's Ford, when Noah Hampton, a brother 
of the prisoner, was murdered in cold blood. (Noah Hampton 
was killed on the night of July 15, 1780, at Earl's Ford on the 
Pacolet River in what is now Polk County; and although he begged 
for his life, he was cursed for a Rebel, and a bayonet run through 
his body because, as it was said, the Hampton family had been too 
active in their opposition to British rule.) Dunlap added: 'Yes, I 
now begin to recall something of this fellow; and though a cripple, 
he has done more harm to the Royal cause than ten fighting men; 
he is one of the damnedest Rebels in all the country, and ought to 
be strung up at once, without fear or favor.' 

Jonathan Hampton had, indeed, been an unwearied friend of the 
Whig cause. He was a good talker; he kept up the spirits of the 
people, and helped to rally the men for military service. Even in his 

278 Random Thoughts and the 

crippled condition he would cheerfully lend a helping hand in 
standing guard; and, when apprehended, was about abandoning his 
home to join his father and McDowell in their flight to Watauga. 
But Ferguson was more humane and prudent than Dunlap, and 
dismissed both Hampton and Hyder on their parole. Hyder tore 
up his parole, shortly after leaving Ferguson's presence; but 
Hampton retained his as long as he lived, but never had occasion 
to use it. (See Draper's King's Mountain and Its Heroes, pages 
154-156; and Griffin's History of Old Tryon and Rutherford 
Counties, pages 57-58, from which I have copied the preceding 
quotation in reference to Jonathan Hampton.) 

I trust that I may be pardoned for stating here that this Jona- 
than Hampton was my great-grandfather. He was the son of Col- 
onel Andrew Hampton who, with McDowell, led the American 
forces up one side of King's Mountain, as will later appear. So it 
will be seen that Colonel Andrew Hampton was my great-great- 
grandfather. My grandfather on my father's side, John H. Alley 
(for whom my father was named) of Liverpool, England, and 
later of Petersburg, Virginia, settled at Rutherfordton and married 
Susan, the youngest daughter of Jonathan Hampton. On the day 
of their marriage, Jonathan Hampton gave to this daughter a tract 
of land containing 160 acres, which embraced a considerable part 
of the present town of Rutherfordton. About the year 1784, he 
obtained from the State a grant for six hundred and forty acres of 
land in Rutherford County, but which, when it was surveyed, was 
found to be situated in Obion County, in the extreme northwestern 
part of the present State of Tennessee. The tract embraced part, 
if not all, of Reelfoot Lake of Night-Rider fame. Judge M. H. 
Justice, of Rutherfordton, told me that the lake derived its name 
from Jonathan Hampton, because he was a reel-footed man; but 
I read in an article in the Geographic Magazine sometime ago, that 
a brave from a northern tribe of Indians stole a maiden from a 
southern tribe, and that, while attempting to get away, the brave 
sprained his ankle and it grew back in such a way that his foot had 
the appearance of a reel-foot; and because he limped around this 
lake catching fish for a subsistence, the lake was called Reelfoot. 
Let that be as it may, in recent years in litigation in the Courts of 
Tennessee in which the Jonathan Hampton heirs were made parties 
plaintiff, we won some strips of land to which the title had not been 
ripened by adverse possession, and when the land was sold and my 

Musings of a Mountaineer 279 

"ship came in," I received a perfectly good check for $7.60 as my 

I will now give a brief account of the Battle of King's Mountain 
as I have gathered it from authentic history, the authorities for 
which will be hereafter cited. 

When Ferguson encamped at Gilbert Town in September of 
1780, it was after he had had some experience with the mountain 
men, or "Backwater Men," as he was pleased to call them, for they 
had already shown him their mettle in several engagements. He 
now sent an oral message, by a paroled prisoner, Samuel Phillips 
by name, to the officers of the Watauga, the Nolichucky, and the 
Holston that "if they did not desist from their oppression of the 
British armies, he would march his army over the mountains, hang 
their leaders, and lay waste with fire and sword." 

This message was carried directly to Colonel Shelby, with in- 
formation as to the strength and situation of Ferguson's army. 
Shelby at once made a forty mile trip to Jonesboro to see John 
Sevier, and they there formulated a plan to go against Ferguson. 
They already knew that Colonel Charles McDowell and Colonel 
Andrew Hampton, with one hundred and sixty men, had retired 
before Ferguson's force at Cane Creek, and were then encamped 
on the Watauga. In response to messages sent out, Colonel William 
Campbell soon came with two hundred men from Washington 
County, Virginia; Shelby and Sevier had a regiment of two hundred 
and forty men each; McDowell and Hampton came with their one 
hundred and sixty men, and Arthur Campbell soon joined them 
with two hundred men from his County. 

On the 25th of September, 1780, these forces met at Sycamore 
Shoals, or Flats, on the Watauga. From every direction the hill 
men came with their rifles, in all nine hundred and eighty moun- 
taineers in homespun. Here at Sycamore Shoals they ground meal 
and manufactured powder and molded bullets, sufficient for their 
expedition. Here, too, on the banks of the beautiful Watauga 
they stood while Reverend Samuel Doak, a Presbyterian Minister, 
preached on "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon," and prayed a 
prayer for the success of the Patriot cause. Then the order to march 
was given. We are told that they went over the mountains, by 
Gap Creek, Crab Orchard, Big Doe River, Yellow and Roan 
Mountains, Roaring Gap in the present County of Avery, Grassy 
Creek, and through Gillespie's Gap, where, on the 29th of Sep- 

280 Random Thoughts and the 

tember, the troops separated, Campbell's men going south, and the 
others in an easterly direction, but meeting next day near Quaker 
Meadows in Burke County, where they made camp. Here they 
were joined by the troops from Wilkes County under Cleveland, 
those from Surry under Winston, and those from the present 
County of Stokes under Captain Jack Martin, whose large stone 
residence still stands just above Danbury. 

Learning that Ferguson had left Gilbert Town, a messenger was 
dispatched with a letter to General Gates, requesting that he send to 
them a commanding officer from the regular army. Not content, 
however, to await response from Gates, they unanimously elected 
Colonel William Campbell of Virginia as their Commander, and 
then took up the chase. 

All historians agree that here was the most remarkable army 
ever assembled in the military annals of America. Theodore Roose- 
velt, in his "Winning of the West", at page 256, says of them: 
"They were led by leaders they trusted; they were wonted to Indian 
warfare, they were skilled as horsemen and marksmen, they knew 
how to face every kind of danger, hardship, and privation. Their 
fringed and tasseled hunting shirts were girded by bead-worked 
belts, and the trappings of their horses were stained red and yellow. 
On their heads they wore caps of coon skin or mink skin with the 
tails hanging down, or else felt hats in each of which was thrust a 
buck tail or a sprig of evergreen. Every man carried a small-bore 
rifle, a tomahawk, and a scalping knife. A very few of the officers 
had swords, and there was not a bayonet nor a tent in the army." 
Mr. Roosevelt might have added that these intrepid mountaineers 
did not constitute a part of the regular army. They were not acting 
under the command of any army officer, or by the request of the 
Government. Each man provided his own equipment — his rifle, his 
ammunition, his food, and his clothes. Those who had them, fur- 
nished their own horses, and those who did not have horses, walked; 
and this was the case with a considerable number of this army 
of mountaineers. But they were patriots, every man of them; and 
they had started out to fight for a victory that has changed the 
tide of history for a thousand years, or more. 

After marching through rain and mud, at last, on October 7th, 
1780, they overtook Ferguson at King's Mountain, having been 
joined at Cowpens by about two hundred and ten more men under 
Lacy, Williams, Graham, and Hambright. At the base of the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 281 

mountain a plan of battle was agreed upon — to attack Ferguson 
on four sides of the mountain at once, and so entrap the enemy 
in a band of fire. To accomplish this maneuver, the command was 
divided into four parts, which were to be led in four columns 
abreast. The interior of the columns were composed of men from 
Virginia and from Sullivan County, then a North Carolina County, 
but now a County of Tennessee, Campbell leading his in the right 
column, and Shelby leading his men in the left. The right flank 
was made up of men from Surry and the present County of Stokes, 
Ashe, Alleghany, the Nolichucky, and also from Burke County; 
Major Winston was at the head of the column, and was followed 
by Colonel Sevier. The detachment commanded by Major Mc- 
Dowell and Colonel Andrew Hampton was joined to Sevier's com- 
mand. The left flank was composed of men from Wilkes, and those 
who joined the day before from the two Carolinas under Colonel 
Williams. Major Chronicle was at the head of this column, fol- 
lowed by Colonel Cleveland. The right and left flank columns were 
of about the same strength, and each equalled that of the two 
regiments constituting the interior columns. The order rang from 
every side of the mountain: "Fresh prime your guns, and every 
man go into battle firmly resolved to fight till he dies." In obedience 
to the command to "fight like demons," nearly a thousand men 
raised their guns and the great battle was on. The struggle lasted 
only an hour and five minutes, but it was furious while it lasted. 
It is said that the whole summit of the mountain was enveloped 
in dense clouds of smoke and broad sheets of flame, and the roar 
of the fire-arms seemed to shake the neighboring hills, and cause 
the very foundations of the mountain to quake. 

The British troops and Tories several times charged the Ameri- 
can lines with fixed bayonets, but when they did they received such 
a galling fire from a neighboring wing of the mountain men, that 
they were compelled to retreat, and the moment they ceased their 
charge, the American forces rallied and continued to pour upon 
them a deadly and destructive fusillade. Ferguson, of the enemy 
forces, displayed great courage. Time after time he charged at the 
head of his column, and finally, while attempting to break through 
the American lines, he was shot and instantly killed. In this engage- 
ment the British and Tories numbered 1,125 men. Of the British 
troops 19 were killed, 35 wounded, and 68 were made prisoners. 
The Tory losses were 206 killed, 128 wounded, and 640 made 

282 Random Thoughts and the 

prisoners, and not one escaped. The losses in the Patriot army were 
28 killed, and 62 wounded, a total of 90. The booty captured by 
the mountain men included 17 baggage wagons and 1200 stand 
of arms, so that after the battle they were vastly better equipped 
than when they started out on their perilous undertaking from 
Sycamore Shoals. 

Some fifteen years ago I made my first visit to the King's Moun- 
tain Battle Ground. I found there a rough, unpolished stone as a 
marker for Ferguson's grave, bearing his name and the date of his 
death. On his grave there was a pile of loose stones two or three 
feet high. In the July 8, 1939, issue of the State Magazine there 
is a beautiful legend written by Cherry Wilkins, which accounts 
for this pile of stones covering Ferguson's grave. It is there said 
that Ferguson always carried with him a beautiful girl wherever 
he went. On the occasion of this battle, and prior thereto, he had 
with him a comely girl by the name of Nancy Trevor of Boston, 
who was deeply in love with Major Ferguson, albeit he often ill- 
treated and neglected her. While the battle was raging, Nancy saw 
a mountain man lift his gun and take deliberate aim at Ferguson. 
Nancy snatched a gun and shot the soldier before he could fire. 
She then placed herself in front of Ferguson, shielding his body 
with her own, and fired shot after shot at the mountain men. At 
last a volley of shot crashed through her body and she fell against 
Major Ferguson, who roughly pushed her to the ground. Then 
mounting his horse he attempted to escape, but was instantly shot 
and killed. Nancy, hearing his death-cry, requested that his body 
be brought to her, and when her request was granted she died with 
her arms around her dead lover. Before she died, however, she 
begged that they be buried in the same grave, and the mountain 
men complied with his request; then, one by one, they marched by, 
each placing a single stone upon the mound, not as a mark of 
respect for the cowardly Major, but to the honor of the American 
girl. And as the years rolled on, every American who passed by this 
grave placed upon it a stone, until today the mound of stones is 
several feet high, a silent tribute to the loyalty and courage of an 
American woman, who loved, "not wisely, but too well." 

All historians now agree that the unfaltering courage, the tact 
and skill, and the unerring markmanship of the men of the moun- 
tains turned the tide in favor of the American cause, and rendered 
inevitable in less than a year, the surrender at Yorktown. (See 

Musings of a Mountaineer 283 

Draper's King's Mountain and Its Heroes; Griffin's History of Old 
Tryon and Rutherford Counties; and The Battle of King's Moun- 
tain and the Battle of Cowpens, "Historical Statements," printed 
and published by United States Government Printing Office, in 
1928, by Authority of Congress.) 

The fighting of the mountain men did not end with the victory 
at King's Mountain. In order to strike that decisive blow, they had 
been forced to leave their homes unprotected. On their return, 
flushed with victory, even before they crossed the mountains, they 
received news that the Cherokees were again on the war-path for 
the destruction of the upper settlements, and that their numerous 
small bands were killing, burning, and plundering in the customary 
Indian way. Without loss of time seven hundred mounted men were 
raised to march against the enemy. These were commanded by 
Arthur Campbell of Virginia, and Colonel John Sevier of North 

Not so far from the present Sevierville, Tennessee, a battle was 
fought with the result that thirteen Indians were killed and their 
plunder taken, while not one of the whites was killed or wounded. 
Chestness, and other towns on the lower Hiawassee were next de- 
stroyed. By New Year's day ten principal towns, including Echota, 
the Nation's capital, had been destroyed. Of all the towns west of 
the mountains, only Tallassee, and one or two near Chickamauga, 
escaped. In the meantime, at least fifty thousand bushels of corn 
and large stores of other provisions were destroyed. 

Early in March, 1781, Sevier, with one hundred and fifty picked 
possemen, crossed the Smoky Mountains and destroyed the Tucka- 
seigee town near Webster, in Jackson County, and two other prin- 
cipal towns and several smaller settlements were in like manner 
destroyed. In the summer Sevier with a hundred men attacked 
the Indian camp near the present Newport, Tennessee, killed a 
dozen warriors, and scattered the rest. The Indians were so worn 
by these successive blows that they were forced to sue for peace, 
and the treaty of 1781 was executed at the Long Island of the 

The prowess of the Carolina Mountaineers did not cease, how- 
ever, with the subduing of the Cherokee Indians. 

Nine of them, on March 2, 1836, signed, with Sam Houston, 
the Texas Declaration of Independence, and a still greater number, 
forming part of Houston's less than eight hundred braves, and 

284 Random Thoughts and the 

spurred on by the battle cry, "Remember the Alamo," helped to 
win against Santa Anna and his sixteen hundred Mexican soldiers 
the victory of San Jacinto, which resulted in the establishment of 
the Republic of Texas. 

Carolina mountaineers fought with Andrew Jackson at New 
Orleans, at Horse Shoe Bend, and in Florida. Under Scott and 
Taylor, with an army of nine thousand heroes, "canopied with 
smoke, torn with musket balls and shot and shell from hill and 
plain, from front and flank, deafened with the rattle of musketry, 
the clang of steel, and the thunders of artillery, hurled forty thou- 
sand Mexicans from their fields and fortresses, wrung from the 
conquerors of the Aztecs nearly one-half of their domain for our 
country," and helped to plant the Stars and Stripes in the Halls 
of the Montezumas. 

They fought to the death in the War between the States, when 
brother was arrayed against brother; from every mountain county, 
volunteers flocked in steady stream to fight for Cuban liberty; 
and the historic "Old Hickory Division", composed of mountain 
men, broke the Hindenburg Line, and put the German Army to 

I must here tell of another war which occurred within my recol- 
lection, and almost before my very eyes. 

The town of Highlands in the upper end of Macon County, was 
established in 1875, by S. H. Kelsey of Kansas, and the town was 
built and settled by Northern people, largely from Massachusetts. 
This was when I was only two years of age. My home was iivt 
miles to the east of Highlands, in Whiteside Cove, in Jackson 
County. These settlers of Highlands were a very temperate folk, 
and were uncompromisingly opposed to the use of intoxicating 
liquor. Moccasin Township, in Rabun County, Georgia, adjoined 
Highlands Township in Macon County, North Carolina. Now, in 
Moccasin Township, Georgia, there was considerable blockading 
carried on, and many of the blockaders would bring their "moon- 
shine" liquor to Highlands and sell it to the young men of that 
town. The Georgia officers seemed to be unable to stop this traffic, 
and at the request of the people of Highlands the Government 
had sent Special Officers to investigate and prosecute the offenders. 
Many stills had been cut down, and many indictments had been 
sent, but the offenders had not been arrested, and were not arrested 
until some years later when John B. Dockens was elected Sheriff 

Musings of a Mountaineer 285 

of Rabun County, and he arrested all who failed to leave the 
country for good. 

Finally, a man by the name of Henson was arrested in Moccasin, 
brought to Highlands, and confined in the Smith Hotel to await 
his trial. A friend came from Georgia to rescue him and succeeded 
in getting into the hotel, whereupon he, himself, was arrested and 
confined with Henson. Then Moccasin, Georgia, sent a written 
declaration of war against Highlands, North Carolina. I was only 
eight or ten years old at the time, but I remember the occurrence in 
all of its details, as if it had happened yesterday. On the day named, 
the Moccasin Army, eighteen strong, marched on Highlands. The 
town people barricaded themselves within and behind the Smith 
Hotel where the prisoners were confined, while the Georgia men 
bivouacked behind an old building directly across the street. For 
three days and nights these opposing forces engaged in snap- 
shooting, every head which appeared behind either building being 
instantly shot at by the opposing side. The men of Highlands did 
not yet dare to send a messenger into the surrounding country for 
reinforcements. Finally Tom Ford, a native North Carolina moun- 
taineer, procured a ladder and climbed to the roof of the Smith 
Hotel, and with his rifle shot and killed a Georgia man by the name 
of Ramey. The Georgia men then ceased hostilities, and withdrew, 
returning to Rabun County to bury their dead. They left a letter, 
however, declaring that as soon as the rites had been performed 
for their fallen comrade, they would return with reinforcements 
to wage their war to the bitter end. Highlands sent out runners 
to alarm the country and ask for aid. My father, my four brothers, 
and all the neighbor men, and all the boys old enough to use a 
gun, from Whiteside Cove, Cashiers Valley and Hamburg, rushed 
to Highlands to defend the town against the second threatened 

They waited two or three days, every one being armed to the 
teeth; but Moccasin did not return to renew the assault. Instead, 
they sent a messenger with a letter, in which they stated, among 
other things, that they knew that Highlands had to transport their 
food and all the necessaries of life from Walhalla, South Carolina; 
that the only road leading from Highlands to Walhalla passed 
through the center of Moccasin Township, and they had determined 
that instead of returning to Highlands to renew hostilities on 

286 Random Thoughts and the 

North Carolina soil, they would kill any and every man from High- 
lands who attempted to pass over the Georgia road. 

Meanwhile, the larders of Highlands became empty. It was 
necessary that the teams should run uninterruptedly in order to 
keep the needs of the town supplied. At first no one would attempt 
so hazardous an undertaking as a trip to Walhalla. Finally, old 
man Joel Lovin, as brave a Confederate Veteran as ever lived, who 
had moved from Graham County to Highlands, and had made his 
living by running a team, said he was not afraid; so he hitched 
up his team and started. The four real leaders of the Georgia 
band had been the four Billingsly brothers, big-hearted, generous 
men, as fearless as lions, who really believed that they had a perfect 
right to make and sell liquor, law or no law. When Mr. Lovin 
reached the vicinity of the settlement where the Billingslys lived, 
right at the Chattooga River and at the forks of the road, he looked 
out and saw the four Billingsly brothers coming up the road in 
single file, each with a Winchester rifle in his hand. Mr. Lovin had 
read the threatening letter. He knew that those brothers had been 
the real leaders at Highlands, and he knew the estimate they placed 
on human life, whether it be their own or that of another man. He 
said that he had never had much faith in the efficacy of prayer, 
but he felt that on no previous occasion in his life had prayer been 
more in order than now. So in this manner he prayed: "Oh, Lord, 
if there is a Lord, save my soul, if I have a soul, from going to hell, 
if there is a hell!" This prayer seemed to be unavailing, for the 
Billingsly boys kept up their forward march. Mr. Lovin then said 
that the only words in the way of a prayer that he could think of 
were the words of his old father when he asked a blessing at meal 
time: "Oh, Lord, make us thankful for what we're about to re- 
ceive!" And still the Billingslys came on. By now the old Rebel 
spirit was aroused in Uncle Joel. Holding his lines with one hand, 
and reaching for his rifle with the other, he said: "Oh, Lord, if 
you won't help me, don't help the Billingslys, and I'll shoot the 
d— Yankees like I used to do endurin' of the war!" The Billingsly 
boys passed by and Uncle Joel went on his way unharmed. This 
ended the trouble between Moccasin and Highlands. But Uncle 
Joel Lovin never did find out whether his prayers or his threat 
saved him from the Billingsly brothers. 

So it will appear to all lovers of truth that the Carolina Moun- 
taineers have courage in plenty, when occasion calls for courage. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 287 

How could it be otherwise? The Carolina Mountaineers have 
flowing in their veins the best blood of England — England, the 
mightiest force among the nations of the earth. The sun of heaven 
never sets upon her imperial possessions. From Gibraltar's impreg- 
nable Rock her guns frown upon all Europe; her magnificent 
fleets and squadrons are sweeping every sea; her air-fleet patrols 
the sky; and the thunder of her guns at the gates of Germany are 
echoing around the world. She has given to the world a Shakes- 
peare, a Bacon and a Gladstone; an Alfred the Great, a Nelson, 
and a Wellington; and the nations of the earth have felt the shock 
of her all-conquering arms. 

The Carolina Mountaineers have flowing in their veins the best 
blood of Ireland. Wherever a blow for freedom has been struck, 
the Emerald Isle has been there, eager for the battle and ready for 
the charge. There was a time when her troops formed nearly half 
of the military forces of the British Empire. And wherever the 
flag of peace has waved over English-speaking nations, Erin's 
sons have been there helping to shape the destinies of empires and 
republics. Of her warriors it has been said: "There was not one 
of them who did not cherish in his heart the hope that some day 
his right arm might wield the sword for Irish Independence." 

The Carolina Mountaineers have flowing in their veins the best 
blood of Scotland — Scotland, the land that produced a William 
Wallace and a Robert Bruce. Under the intrepid leadership of 
Wallace, his little band of Scottish patriots, outnumbered five to 
one, at Sterling Bridge, on September 11, 1297, put to flight 50,000 
seasoned English soldiers and drove them back to England's soil. 
The name and heroic deeds of William Wallace will live in history, 
and song, and story as long as courage, loyalty, and love of country 
shall challenge the admiration of the children of men. 

Robert Bruce, the Liberator of Scotland, and one time its King, 
at the memorable battle of Bannockburn, June 24, 1314, with an 
army of 30,000, stood before an English Army of 100,000 men 
under Edward II. As the invading hosts advanced, the Scots knelt 
down and invoked the aid of God. Then rising from their knees, 
the Scots attacked their foes, not as they are now fighting in 
Europe, from a distance, with artillery from the land, and bombs 
from the sky, and submarines from the depths of the sea, but hand- 
to-hand with sword and battle axe, until the English were com- 
pletely vanquished and fled in wild disorder from the field. And 

288 Random Thoughts and the 

today, and forever-more, Scotchmen will lead their children to these 
landmarks of their country's history, and under the same sky that 
Robert Bruce beheld, and in the shadow of the Wallace monument, 
repeat to them those deeds which are their country's proudest 

The Carolina Mountaineers have the best blood of Holland 
flowing in their veins — Holland, which for thirty years maintained 
a defensive war against the whole power of Spain when Phillip II 
controlled the councils and commanded the wealth of the world. 
But Holland fought with the inspiration of freedom, and until in 
recent times, the only guns of a foreign foe whose hostile roar was 
ever heard in the Tower of London, were the guns of the free states 
of Holland. And her victories of peace are no less renowned than 
her victories of war. 

With such an ancestry, of course the Carolina Mountaineers will 
fight, not on the slightest pretext, but when they are clothed in the 
armour of a righteous cause. 

And every Carolina Mountaineer is proud of his ancestry, for 
he knows that no nobler or more loyal or more patriotic people ever 
lived than those who settled our mountain land. They were the 
"monarchs of all they surveyed"; they were proud of their inde- 
pendence, and proud in the consciousness of their ability to defend 
it; and in their hearts they felt, as they had the right to feel, that 
each of them was the equal of any other living man. Their morals 
were of the highest order; their hospitality was unbounded, and 
their knowledge was far superior to that obtained from books, for 
they knew Nature, and they knew Nature's God. Their patriotism 
constitutes a proud chapter in the history of our country, and the 
names of their descendants have glorified the scroll of honor in 
every department of life in almost all of the States of the Union. 
Their lives were filled with the dangers, the hardships, and the 
hazards that are a part of the pioneer's experience everywhere. 
Never was there a country settled by civilized people under more 
difficult and perilous circumstances. They took for granted that 
they might at any moment be challenging a storm of arrow-winged 
death. They took for granted storm and tempest, flood and blizzard, 
pestilence and disease. They had only themselves to depend upon 
if they were to survive. They had no telegraphs over which to send 
signals of distress, and no radios with which to broadcast appeals. 
They had no airplanes to drop food to them when they were 

Musings of a Mountaineer 289 

marooned by floods and snow-storms. There were no Governors 
to issue emergency proclamations, and no Presidents to rush aid 
to them through legally constituted relief agencies. 

The total effect of all this was not merely to develop men and 
women of a different type from the common run — men and women 
whose quality of courage and self-reliance has never before nor 
since been surpassed. It developed men and women who took peril, 
hazard, privation, and suffering for granted, and whose heroism 
was an essential part of their natures. Their heroic deeds were not 
something to be talked of as exceptional or infrequent, for they were 
the common every day doings of ordinary men and women of that 
period. Only now, judged by the sheltered standards of our present 
civilization, can we adequately appreciate the scope and magnitude 
of their courage, fortitude, and patriotism. And so, today, we 
salute those noble men and women whose adverse odds and con- 
tinual peril evoked the finest qualities of humankind. 

We are told that the jeweler tests his gold by rubbing it on the 
touchstone. If he is not then satisfied as to its purity, he places it 
in the crucible and melts it, and then hammers it, so that the dross, 
if any, is removed. Our pioneer ancestors passed through a similar 
test. They, too, went through the fire; but it is my belief that as they 
passed through the furnace, with its sevenfold heat, they were 
accompanied by another Form of Celestial aspect, walking with 
them in the midst of the flames and comforting them in their fiery 
afflictions; for when they had passed through the ordeal, like the 
Hebrew Children of olden times, they stepped forth unharmed, 
with their homely garments unscorched, and without even the 
smell of fire. 

Today, as I write these words, the far-reaching domain of our 
mountain section is rich, and will forever remain rich, with the 
memory of those unforgettable pioneers and fighting men, who 
blazed its trails and illumined its history with deeds of unparalleled 
courage and valor. Tree-clad hills and flowery glens, rushing rivers 
and rolling valleys, silvery rivulets and foaming cascades, brilliantly 
painted gorges and towering mountains, still remind us, and will 
forever remind us, of those glamorous days of pioneer adventure. 

Our pioneers were a fighting breed of men and women who were 
"long" on courage and friendship, and "short" only on their 
tempers in dealing with those who lawlessly flaunted their code. 
In these untamed, savage mountains, by work and courage, by 


blood and sacrifice, by suffering and heart-break, they laid deep 
and strong the foundations for a vast empire which they envisioned 
for their children. I repeat, that proudly we salute those brave, 
courageous, self-sacrificing men and women and their epic heroism, 
who, in their day, in the best way they knew, and with all the 
means they had, built for the world of tomorrow. 

And so, in the savage wilderness, on the outer fringe of civiliza- 
tion, in every age and in every clime — in science, in law, in govern- 
ment, in medicine, in education, and in religion, in every depart- 
ment of human life, and in every field of human endeavor, there is 
now, and there will always be, a frontier to conquer; and wherever 
the frontier is, there will be found the pioneer, dreaming, planning, 
striving, struggling, fighting, sacrificing, and building for the 
world of tomorrow, for the consummation of "that far-off divine 
event toward which the whole creation moves." 



There was a time when our forefathers owned this 
great Island (America). Their seats extended from 
the rising sun to the setting sun. The Great Spirit 
had made it for the use of Indians. He had created 
the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. 
He had made the bear and the beaver. Their skins 
served us for clothing. He had scattered them over 
the country and taught us how to take them. He 
had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. 
All this He had done for his red children, because 
He loved them .... But an evil day came upon us. 
Your forefathers crossed the great water, and 
landed on this Island .... Tidings were carried 
back, and more came amongst us .... At length 
their numbers had greatly increased. They wanted 
more land; they wanted our country. Our eyes 
were opened, and our minds became uneasy. War 
took place. Indians were hired to fight Indians, 
and many of our people were destroyed .... 
We do not understand these things. 

From the speech of Sagoyewatha, or Red Jacket, 
a Seneca Indian Chief, to the Representatives of 
a Missionary Society. Red Jacket is reputed to 
have been the most eloquent among the Indian 
orators of North America. 

The Cherokee Indians were our first mountaineers. They at one 
time occupied not only the territory now embraced in what we call 
the Carolina Mountains, but the present State of Tennessee as far 
west as Muscle Shoals, the highlands of Virginia, South Carolina, 
Georgia, and Alabama. The territory claimed by them comprises 
40,000 square miles. 

Their most important towns were situated on the headwaters of 
the Savannah, in Georgia, the Keowee, the Seneca, and the Oconee, 
in South Carolina, the Tuckaseigee and Hiawassee in North Caro- 

292 Random Thoughts and the 

lina, and the Little Tennessee, from where it rises in Towns 
County, Georgia, all the way through Rabun County, Georgia, 
•and Macon and Swain Counties, North Carolina, to its junction 
with the main Tennessee River in the present State of that name. 

Bancroft tells us in his History of the United States, Volume II, 
at pages 95 and 96, that the Cherokee Nation had nearly fifty 
towns or villages, scattered along the bends in the mountain streams, 
which offered at once a defense and a strip of fertile soil for 

Echota on the south bank of the Little Tennessee, a few miles 
above the mouth of Tellico River, in the present State of Tennessee, 
was the capital of the Nation. 

There were no definitely ascertained or fixed boundaries of the 
vast domain claimed by the Cherokees, and on every side bitter 
contests were waged by rival claimants. 

On the Virginia side they were held in check by the powerful 
forces of Powhatan; on the east and southeast they were in con- 
stant trouble with the Tuscorora and Catawba tribes, and the Sara 
and Cheraw Indians were their bitter enemies. 

On the south they were engaged in almost incessant struggles 
with the Creeks; in the west the Chickasaws and Shawano Nations 
fought them back from the rich central valleys of Tennessee; and 
the Iroquois of the far north were perhaps their most dreaded 

Historians have been unable to agree as to any definite time 
when the Cherokees first occupied their territory in the Alleghany 
Mountains. They do agree, however, that it was after the conquest 
of Mexico by the Spaniards under Cortez in the year 1521. They 
also agree that the Cherokee Indians came to our mountains from 
Mexico. There is abundant proof that not only the Cherokees, but 
the Choctaws, Chickasaws and Creeks, were living in Mexico when 
Cortez overthrew the Aztec government. 

The ancient traditions of the Cherokees, the Creeks and the 
Natchez also indicate Mexico as the country from which, many 
centuries ago, they moved to their possessions east of the Mississippi 
River. (See Cushman's History of the Choctaws, Chickasaws, 
Cherokees, and Natchez Indians, pages 66 and 67.) 

The Cherokees have a tradition that they came from Asia to 
North America, and from Mexico to their homes in the Alle- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 293 

Oconastata, or Big Warrier, as he was sometimes called, and 
one-time Chief of the Ancient Cherokees, claimed that the ancestors 
of his people came from Asia, landing in the northwestern part 
of North America, and going from there to Mexico; and that 
later his people, the Cherokees, came from Mexico to the Alle- 
ghany Mountains. (See Milfort, page 269.) 

Milfort tells us on the page just referred to that "Big Warrior, 
Chief of the Cherokees as late as 1822, not only confirms this tra- 
dition that Mexico was their native country, but goes back to a 
more remote period for their origin, and claims that his ancestors 
came from Asia, crossing Behring Strait in their canoes, thence 
down the Pacific coast to Mexico, thence to the country east of the 
Mississippi (the Alleghanies) , where they were first known to the 
Europeans." (See, also, Cushman, pages 17, 19, and 66.) 

The above-mentioned tradition is verified by authentic history. 
It was in 1539-40 that Hernando DeSoto, with his six hundred 
armed men and two hundred and thirteen horses, explored the 
mountains of Western North Carolina, and opened mines in sev- 
eral of the present Counties in this section. All historians agree 
that the men comprising this party of Spaniards were the first 
Europeans to become acquainted with the Cherokee Indians. 

From the foregoing traditions and facts of history, it is a per- 
missible, if not a compelling inference that the Cherokee Indians 
are direct descendants of the Aztecs of Mexico, and that the 
blood of the mighty Montezumas flows in their veins today. 

The origin of the Indian Races of the Americas has never been 
clearly established. The great weight of authority tends strongly 
to prove that they originated in Asia, and that they descended from 
the Chinese race. It has been clearly demonstrated that at one time 
in the history of the world there were either direct land connections 
or a series of Islands between the Western and Eastern Hemis- 
pheres. No one now questions the truth of the saying that in the 
course of the years "the ocean's bed becomes the mountain's brow." 
But even if this were not so, it would not be a very difficult task 
to cross the Behring Strait in canoes from the mainland of Asia 
to the Northwestern mainland of North America. There are 
striking resemblances between the Chinese and the Indian Races. 
They are both exclusive with respect to their relations with other 
races. The facial resemblances are remarkable. I have seen many 
Cherokee Indians and many Chinamen, who, if they were dressed 

294 Random Thoughts and the 

alike and stood side by side, would resemble so closely that it would 
be impossible to distinguish which was Chinese and which Indians. 
While hundreds of dialects were spoken by the Indians, in some 
of the western languages, there are many words identical with 
Chinese words in form, sound, and meaning. 

Ridpath, in his admirable and comprehensive history, "With 
the World's People", which is universally considered to be one of 
the highest authorities on the origin of the great races of mankind, 
in Volume XII, at page 525, has this to say with respect to the 
origin of the American Indians: "Ethnographically, we here (in 
Mexico) find the mixing of two tides. It would appear that the 
Asiatic Mongoloid division of mankind — spreading southward 
through western North America — descends into Mexico, Central 
America, through the Isthmus, and as far south as the Andean 
Nations. And it also appears that another division, namely, the 
Polynesian Mongoloids, coming possibly by way of Hawaii, has 
reached the region of Lower California and Mexico, there blending 
its result with the races from the North." 

There was a tradition among the Aztecs that their ancestors 
came from Asia, and that they once lived in what is now California. 

A Hyatt Verrill, in his learned and comprehensive history of 
the "Old Civilizations of the New World", tells us at pages 157 
and 158: "We know very little about the Aztecs .... prior to their 
arrival in the Valley of Mexico. That they came from some distant 
locality in the North is clearly proved by their codices or written 
records, but unfortunately many of these are missing, having been 
destroyed by the fanatical Spanish priests. The name Aztec means 
"Crane People", and traditions and codices agree that their original 
home was a spot called Aztlan, which some authorities have 
identified with California." This tradition and history agree with 
the Cherokee tradition mentioned above. 

There were also traditions among the Aztecs, which, to some 
extent, were born out by the codices, and some of which still per- 
sist, to the effect that the race remained for long periods at various 
localities prior to their arrival in the Valley of Mexico, and that 
colonies were established in these places with vast stores of treas- 
ure, supplies, and arms, to be used in case of emergency. According 
to these traditions these colonies or outposts were reserve bases for 
forming an almost complete line of retreat, and were strongly 
fortified and hidden in secret fastnesses of the mountains. But as 

Musings of a Mountaineer 295 

centuries passed and no need of calling upon these reserves arose, 
they were forgotten and the secrets of their locations lost, so that 
when at last the empire was attacked by the Spaniards the reserve 
forces and treasures were unavailable. (See Old Civilizations of 
America, page 188.) Of course, all of the Indians in Mexico were 
not Aztecs. There were many and distinct groups under the rule 
of the Montezumas, some of whom were savage, others cultured, 
and still others with civilizations of their own. But the very fact 
that the Cherkoees were far more civilized than most of the other 
North American Indians constitutes some proof that they de- 
scended from a civilized race. Most of the North American Indians 
lived in wigwams and temporary camps, and depended largely on 
the chase for a livelihood. Most of them lived by the Code that 
"sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof", and if they had meat 
for today, tomorrow could take care of itself. But not so with the 
Cherokee Indians. They built and resided in permanent towns. 
They lived in log houses, and the head of each family owned his 
own house. Every town had its "Town House", which was used 
for councils and the transaction of governmental affairs; but part 
of it was used for storing corn, pumpkins, beans, and dried meat, 
for the inhabitants of every town were careful to see that provision 
was made for the "rainy day". They promulgated and enforced 
laws for the government of the tribe, and similar to the Aztec 
system, when not at war with some of the tribes hereinabove men- 
tioned, they lived a happy, prosperous, and contented life. The 
countenances of many Cherokees bear a remarkable resemblance 
to the sculptured faces of the Aztecs which are constantly being 
found in Mexico. The Cherokees had a mythology as beautiful 
and comprehensive as the mythologies of Greece and Rome, and in 
many respects it is strikingly like the mythology of the Aztecs; and 
in every "Town House" the sacred fire was kept constantly burning; 
and they believed that if the Town House was destroyed by an 
enemy, the fire, instead of going out would sink into the ground, 
and there burn perpetually, though invisible to the eyes of man. 

If, indeed, the Cherokees are descendants of the Aztects, it is 
a fact of which they may well be proud. 

The American Indians have evolved three wonderful civilizations 
— the Peruvian, in South America, the Mayan, in Central America, 
and the Aztec, in Mexico. In the "Old Civilizations of the New 
World", Mr. Verrill has this to say of them at page 22; "Leaving 

296 Random Thoughts and the 

all questions of relationships with other races aside, there is no 
doubt that these prehistoric American races far excelled every other 
race of their times in many ways. No such accurate calendar as 
that of the Mayas was ever devised until the revised Gregorian 
calendar was adopted. No such astronomical calculations were 
made by any other people of their times as by the Aztecs and 
Mayas. No other people invented such a remarkable form of writing 
as the Mayas. No other race, not even people of the present day, 
ever erected such walls and buildings as those of the pre-Incan 
(Peruvian) races. No other race ever carried out such Cyclopean 
works or such stupendous feats of stone-cutting. No other race 
ever yet has woven by hand or machine — textiles to equal those 
produced by the ancient Peruvians. And the famed Roman roads and 
aqueducts seem scarcely more than child's play beside the marvelous 
highways and other engineering wonders of the Incans" (in Peru) . 
With respect to the civilization of the Aztecs, I quote the following 
from pages 160 and 161 of "Old Civilizations of the New World": 
"In their civilization the Aztecs were inferior in some respects to 
the Mayas, the Incas and other American races. In their engineering 
feats they did not approach the Peruvian races, nor had they per- 
fected textiles, ceramatics, and some other arts to equal those of the 
South American cultures. On the other hand, they had reached 
greater heights in many arts and attainments. Their featherwork 
was magnificent, and to supply the feathers necessary for ornaments 
and garments they maintained immense aviaries of bright-plumaged 
birds whose feathers were plucked at regular intervals. The rulers, 
priests, and officials wore clothing which aroused the wonder and 
admiration of the Spaniards, and their feather mosaics on shields 
and other objects of hide, wood, etc., are mong the most remarkable 
known examples of American art. In mosaic especially, the Aztecs 
surpassed all races of the New World, and in some ways of the 
entire world .... In their carving on shells, bones, wood, and 
stone, the Aztecs exhibited a skill and refinement that has never 
been excelled, and no material was too refractory for the Aztec 
artisans to carve and engrave." 

The capital of the Aztec empire occupied the site of the present 
City of Mexico, and was a most imposing City at the time of the 
invasion of Cortez and his army. The City contained at that time 
more than sixty thousand inhabitants, and the City itself was 
more than twelve miles in circumference. The Aztecs called their 

Musings of a Mountaineer 297 

capital city Tenochtitlan. There were several other towns on the 
near-by Islands and shores that were almost as large as the capital 
city. The surrounding country had a population totaling several 
millions. The capital city was intersected by four broad avenues 
at right angles, running north, east, south and west. The city stood 
on an Island in the great salt Lake of Tezcuco, and Lake Chalco. 
The lake was salt, and so the city needed a constant supply of 
suitable water for domestic use, and to meet this need an aqueduct 
of solid stonework and cement led to it across the strait, bringing 
the mountain springs of Chapultepec right into the heart of the 
city. There was a large number of canals which served as smaller 
thoroughfares, and the four main roads, or dikes, extended across 
the lake which completely surrounded the city. 

The houses of the lower classes were built of adobe, while those 
of the well-to-do were constructed of stone. The houses were 
usually built one story high with flat roofs covered with brightly 
blooming flowers. The houses were plastered with white stucco or 
cement, and they had temples everywhere. 

The largest of the temples was the one dedicated to the God of 
War, whose enclosing walls measured about five thousand feet 
around, with a stairway of three hundred and forty steps which 
led to the summit. Here the sacred fires were kept burning always, 
attended by holy virgins. The Aztecs believed that if the sacred 
fires were permitted to go out their power would end, and so more 
than six hundred of these fires were kept continually burning in 
Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) alone. 

This custom of the Aztecs with respect to the sacred fire calls 
to mind the Temple of Vesta in ancient Rome. Vesta was the 
Goddess of the home and the fireside, and in her temple the 
sacred fire was attended and kept perpetually burning by the 
purest young women in Rome. They called them the Vestal 
Virgins, and if they neglected the fire and allowed the light in 
the temple to go out, the law of Rome imposed upon them the 
awful penalty of death. 

Of course, the finest house among the Aztecs in their Capital 
City was the house of Montezuma, the King. Mr. Verrill thus 
describes the palace and the King: "The palace of the Montezuma, 
as the Aztec emperor was called, literally outshone that of Solomon, 
and the famous King of Israel in all his glory would have paled 
in comparison with the Aztec's ruler. His garments were of the 

298 Random Thoughts and the 

finest cotton most beautifully woven in intricate symbolic designs 
of many colors. His mantles were marvelous aifairs formed of 
hundreds of thousands of tiny, iridescent feathers from humming 
birds and trogans, and scintillated with all the prismatic brilliancy 
of the rainbow." It is said that his palace was so large that it housed 
not only himself and his own family, but the families of most of 
his immediate relatives, and one hundred personal servants who 
constantly attended him. 

The Aztecs, as well as the Mayas and the Peruvians, produced 
all the known varieties of corn, the yam, or sweet potato, and the 
potato which is now universally known as the Irish potato, but 
which they called "spuds". They produced almost every kind of 
bean, pumpkins, squashes, and melons; and they also cultviated 
peanuts, pineapples, bananas, and many other fruits. They had 
tame turkeys, pheasants, geese, and ducks, and one of their favorite 
meats was the meat of the peccary, a species of wild hog, which 
roamed the territory in droves of hundreds and thousands all the 
way from Texas to the lower sections of South America. 

From the standpoint of cruelty and treachery, the destruction 
of the Aztec civilization by the Spaniards under Cortez, and the 
destruction of the Incan civilization in Peru under Pizarro, have 
but three parallels in history — the conquering of Ethiopia by Italy, 
the rape of Poland by Germany, and the present barbaric attempt 
of Russia to overpower and destroy by overwhelming numbers, the 
brave and courageous Finnish people. 

As to just what the Cherokee population was when the white 
people were beginning to invade the mountains, authorities differ. 
In 1715 a trade census was prepared by the Governor of the South 
Carolina Colony, and he estimated the total population to be 
11,210, including 4,000 warriors, and thirty towns. A census was 
taken in 1721, which gives them fifty- three towns, with 3,500 
warriors; and the report of the Board of Trade for that year gives 
them 3,800 warriors, and a total population 12,000. To this estimate 
Bancroft agrees. But Adair estimates that in 1735 they had a pop- 
ulation of 16,000 to 17,000, including 6,000 warriors, and sixty-four 
towns and villages. (See Mooney's Myths of the Cherokees, page 
34, and Bancroft's History of the United States, Volume II, 
page 100.) 

The Indians living in South Carolina and Georgia were known 
as the Lower Cherokees, and their towns were known as the Lower 

Musings of a Mountaineer 299 

Towns. Those living in what is now Tennessee were called the 
Upper Cherokees, or Overhill Indians, and their towns were called 
the Upper Towns. The Indians living in the territory now desig- 
nated as "The Carolina Mountains", West of the Blue Ridge, 
were known generally as the Middle or Valley Cherokees, and 
their towns were known as the Middle or Valley Towns; but 
strictly speaking, the Valley Towns and Indians were confined to 
the Hiawassee and Valley River Valleys, and those to the eastward 
were the Middle Cherokeees and Middle Towns. (See Mooney's 
Myths of the Cherokees, pages 50, 53 and 58.) 

It is said that these Indians never had a town east of the Pigeon 
River in Haywood County, except the small town of Conestee on 
the waters of the upper French Broad, near Brevard, in the present 
County of Transylvania. Their towns and villages, in the main, 
were in upper South Carolina, Northern Georgia, Northern Ala- 
bama, in what is now East Tennessee, and on the Pigeon, the 
Tuckaseigee, the Little Tennessee, the Valley and the Hiawassee 
Rivers, in Western North Carolina. (Sondley's History of Bun- 
combe County, Volume I, page 28.) 

Clarence Griffin in his very fine and instructive History of Old 
Tryon and Rutherford Counties, at pages 1 and 2, says that the 
territory embraced within the present County of Rutherford was 
never inhabited by the Indians as a permanent abiding place, but 
was used in common by the Cherokees and the Catawbas as a 
hunting ground. He also tells us that four great Indian trails at 
that time traversed North Carolina, one of which started near 
Pickens in South Carolina, and ran through Polk, Rutherford, 
Burke, and other Counties on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge, 
and passing near Boone, crossed the Iron Mountains into the 
present State of Tennessee. 

The Keowee Trail started at Charleston, and, leading through 
Dorchester, Orangeburg, Ninety-Six, and other South Carolina 
towns of the present day, and passing Keowee Town, constituted 
the direct route from Charleston to the Upper Towns in Tennessee. 
This trail forked near Keowee Town, one fork going through 
Rabun County, Georgia, and then down the Little Tennessee, and 
the other up the "Stump House Mountain" in South Carolnia, 
crossing Chattoga River, and, after reaching North Carolina, fork- 
ing again, one fork going through Cashiers Valley to the Toxaway 
country, and the other, passing through or near the present town 

300 Random Thoughts and the 

of Highlands, down the Tesuntee and on to Franklin. Of course, 
there were other trails connecting all the Indian towns. 

All historians who have informed themselves, as they should do 
before writing, agree that the Cherokees were much more intelligent 
and civilized than any other of the North American Indians, and 
these writers likewise agree that the Cherokees were the most war- 
like, until finally subdued by the whites. 

I shall not here undertake to give any detailed account of the 
wars raged by the Cherokees against other Indian tribes. All 
through the eighteenth century they were engaged in constant war- 
fare with their Indian neighbors. The war with the Tuscaroras 
lasted until the outbreak of the last named tribe against the Caro- 
lina Colony in 1711, and gave the Cherokees the opportunity to 
cooperate in the movement which forever drove the Tuscaroras 
from Carolina to seek homes in the North. 

The Cherokees next turned on the Shawnees on the Cumberland, 
and with the assistance of the Chickasaws drove them from that 
country in 1715. 

They continued to wage war against the Catawbas until the latter 
had become so weakened by war and disease that they became 
utterly dependent upon the white people for the means of living. 

At last the ties of friendship that once existed between the 
Cherokees and Chickasaws were broken, and a war started between 
them in 1757 which resulted in overwhelming victory for the Chick- 
asaws in 1768. 

The war between the Cherokees and their bitter enemy, the 
Iroquois, continued, in spite of the endeavors of the colonial gov- 
ernments to stop it, until a peace treaty was finally executed, as 
the result of the efforts of Sir William Johnson, of Virginia. 

The war with the Creeks for the possession of the Northern part 
of Georgia continued until finally, the United States as mediator, 
settled the differences between the two nations. By now the weaker 
tribes farther to the east had become virtually extinct. In 1815 it 
was estimated that the Cherokees did not have more than 2,590 
warriors, at least that many more having died during the smallpox 
epidemic which raged among the Cherokees in 1738-39, the estimate 
being that half of the entire population of the Cherokee Nation 
died of this disease in a single year. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 301 

In 1756 an attack was made by the Cherokees on the back 
settlements of the whites in Carolina, while beyond the mountains 
two soldiers were killed at Fort Louden. 

In 1758, a party of chiefs of great influence, after ordering back 
a party of warriors who were on their way from the western towns 
to attack the Carolina settlements, went to Charleston to try to settle 
the disputes on a friendly basis. By resolution of the assembly, 
peace had been declared with the Cherokees; but Governor Little- 
ton, in May, 1759, demanded the surrender, for execution, of every 
Indian who had killed a white man in the recent trouble. This 
demand, of course, aroused the entire nation. Two large delega- 
tions, representing all the Indian towns went to Charleston to beg 
for peace. The second of these delegations was led by the young 
war chief Oconostota, but instead of listening to them the Governor 
had the entire party seized and imprisoned in Fort Prince George 
which was situated near the town of Keowee; but in response to 
the appeal of A-ta-kul-la-kulla, the civil chief of the Nation and 
friend of the English, Governor Littleton released the prisoners 
on their promise to kill or seize any Frenchman who attempted to 
enter their country. 

And now war commenced in earnest. With Oconostota as their 
leader the Cherokees attacked the frontier settlements of South 
Carolina, while other warriors attacked Fort Louden on the 
Tennessee side. In June, 1760, Colonel Montgomery, leading 1,600 
men, drove the Indians from the vicinity of Fort Prince George, 
and then attacked the town of Keowee, killed all the defenders, 
and destroyed one after another all the Lower Cherokee towns, 
burning all the houses, cutting down the cornfields and orchards, 
taking more than a hundred prisoners, and driving the entire 
population into the fastnesses of the Blue Ridge. 

He then sent messengers to the Middle and Upper Towns, 
threatening that, unless they at once surrendered, he would visit 
upon them a similar fate. The Indians ignored the threat; so 
Montgomery then led his men across the mountains and down the 
waters of the Little Tennessee to the small town of Echoee, just 
above the sacred town of Nikwassi, on whose site the present 
town of Franklin stands. Here the Cherokees, with a large force, 
met him in a desperate battle, with the result that the Montgomery 
forces were defeated with the loss of nearly a hundred men in 
killed and wounded. Montgomery was forced to retreat into 

302 Random Thoughts and the 

South Carolina to Fort Prince George. This victory of the Chero- 
kees was fatal to Fort Louden in Tennessee. That garrison had 
already reached the point where the soldiers were living on horse 
and dog meat. On August 8, 1760, the garrison, consisting of 
about two hundred men, surrendered to Oconostota, on his promise 
that they would be permitted to leave that section unmolested, 
with sufficient arms and ammunition for the march, with the fur- 
ther understanding that the Indians might retain all remaining war 
equipment and stores. The Indians, however, soon discovered that 
ten bags of powder and a large amount of ball had been buried 
in the fort, and that cannon, small arms, and ammunition had 
been thrown into the river. The Indians were enraged at this 
breach of faith, and the next morning at daylight attacked the 
whites, killing thirty of them and taking and holding the others 
as prisoners until ransomed some time later. 

The next June, in 1761, Colonel Grant with an army of 2,600 
men, including a large number of Catawba and Chicakasaw 
Indians, marched from Fort Prince George in South Carolina, 
through Rabun Gap in Georgia, and down the Little Tennessee 
to a point within two miles of Montgomery's battlefield, where on 
June 10 he defeated the Cherokees with considerable loss to his 
own forces, in a hard-fought battle lasting for several hours. 

Following this battle he continued his march until within a 
month he destroyed all of the Middle towns, fifteen all told, with 
their grain and cornfields, and drove the Indians into the moun- 
tains. Now the Cherokees were in a desperate condition. Many- 
of their best towns had been destroyed, their crops and orchards 
had been cut down and wasted, their ammunition was gone, many 
of their bravest warriors had been killed, and their people were 
compelled to hide in the mountains. In September of that year the 
great Chief A-ta-kul-la-kulla went to Charleston and succeeded 
in obtaining a treaty of peace. Following this, in November, 
another treaty was entered into by Colonel Stephen of Virginia 
and the Indians, the treaty being concluded at the Great Island 
on the Holston, at the present town of Kingsport, Tennessee. 

In 1768 the Indians appealed to Captain John Stuart, a British 
Superintendent, and a treaty was entered into in an attempt to fix 
the Indian boundary on the north, by which the Indians lost all 
their territory in the States of Virginia and West Virginia. Two 
years later, in 1772, the Virginians demanded another cession, as 

Musings of a Mountaineer 303 

the result of which everything east of the Kentucky River was 
given up by the Indians, and on March 17, 1775, what was known 
as the Henderson purchase was concluded, including the entire 
tract between the Kentucky and Cumberland Rivers. 

These transactions were not really treaties, but were forced 
upon the Indians and signed by them under protest. Before these 
so-called treaties were entered into many whites had settled upon 
the tracts in question and refused to remove. This was particularly 
so on the Watauga and Holston in East Tennessee, where the 
whites entered into a temporary lease with the Indians, which, of 
course, became a permanent occupancy in view of the events that 

At the commencement of the Revolutionary War in 1776, the 
Indian tribes were all arrayed on the British side against the 
Americans, and for this reason the British supplied the Indians 
with hatchets, guns, and ammunition, all the way from the Great 
Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and offered to pay them bounties 
for all the American scalps they would bring to the commanding 
officers at Detroit and Oswego. 

In June, 1776, an English fleet with a large naval and military 
force attacked Charleston, South Carolina, and at the same time 
a large force of Cherokees, who were led by Tories disguised as 
Indians, went down from the mountains and attacked the upper 
frontiers of South Carolina, killing and burning promiscuously; 
but when the garrison at Charleston defeated the British the 
Indians and Tories returned to the mountains. 

It was at about this time that a noted Indian woman, known 
as the "war woman", who had great influence and authority among 
the Cherokees, sent warning that seven hundred warriors were 
advancing in two divisions to attack the Watauga and Holston 
settlements, with the purpose of destroying everything clear to the 
New River. The Holston men met them in August and defeated 
them after inflicting heavy loss. 

At this same time other Indian forces were attacking the fron- 
tiers of Carolina and Georgia, killing many people on the upper 
Catawba River. 

The Cherokees of the Upper and Middle Towns, aided by 
Tories and some Creek Indians, commenced invading upper South 
Carolina, burning homes, driving off cattle, and killing men, 
women, and children as they came to them, until the entire country 


Random Thoughts and the 

was seriously alarmed, and the border States realized that the 
Indians must be subdued while the struggle with England con- 
tinued. At once frontier forces were organized, and in the summer 
of 1776, four armies were equipped from Virginia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, and Georgia, to attack the Cherokees at the same 
time from four different directions. 

In August, 1776, the North Carolina army, consisting of 2,400 
men, and led by General Griffith Rutherford, crossed the Blue 
Ridge at Swannanoa Gap, marched west to Stecoee on the Tucka- 
seigee River near the present town of Whittier in Swain County. 
The Indians hearing of the approach of the white army, had fled, 
but Rutherford destroyed the entire town, including the unfinished 
Town House, and cut down all of the standing corn. Every town 
on Oconaluftee, the Tuckaseigee, the upper part of the Little 
Tennessee, and on the Hiawassee River to a point below its junction 
with Valley River. Thirty-six towns, all told, were destroyed one 
after the other, and the corn was all destroyed and the stock 
killed or driven off. 

At Sugartown just to the east of Franklin, a detachment from 
Rutherford's army was surprised and would probably have been 
destroyed but for the timely arrival of another force sent to their 

Upon reaching Wayah Bald Gap in the Nantahala Mountains, 
Rutherford fought one of the bitterest fights of the entire cam- 
paign, where he lost over forty men in killed and wounded, but 
the Indians finally gave it up and retreated farther back into the 

On September 26 Colonel Andrew Williamson, with 1,860 men, 
joined Rutherford's army on the Hiawassee, but the work of de- 
struction was already accomplished, and the soldiers returned to 
their homes on the routes over which they had come. 

The South Carolina army had centered with different divisions 
in the Lower Cherokee towns on the head of the Savannah, burn- 
ing the towns and cutting down the peach trees and ripened corn. 

At the town of Seneca, in the present County of Oconee, in 
South Carolina, the Carolinians encountered Cameron, the British 
Indian agent, with his Indians and Tories, and here they destroyed 
six hundred bushels of corn, besides other valuable food stores 
and then burned all the houses. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 305 

The most bitter battle, however, was fought at Tomassee, where 
several whites and Indians were killed, the Indians all being 

After completing the ruin of the Lower Towns, Williamson 
crossed Rabun Gap into the Valley of the Little Tennessee to aid 
Rutherford in the destruction of the Middle and Valley towns. 

Every house in every settlement was burned — ninety in one set- 
tlement alone — and the corn, potatoes, and other food stores 
destroyed, and the stores of deer skins were carried away. The 
Indians who were not killed were driven into the Nantahalas and 

In the meantime, Colonel Samuel Jack led a force of two hun- 
dred Georgians, who burned two towns on the head of the Chatta- 
hoochee and the Tugaloo Rivers, and drove off the cattle and 
destroyed all the corn the towns contained. 

Two thousand Virginians under Colonel William Christian met 
several hundred men from North Carolina, at Long Island in the 
Holston, and in August they came upon a large force of Indians 
where the great Indian war path crosses the French Broad, but the 
Indians fled without offering resistance. In November Christian 
reached and destroyed the towns on the Little Tennessee, except 
the Sacred "Peace Town" of Echota, which was spared. There 
were many other similar smaller engagements which need not be 
mentioned here. 

The effects of this war that had been waged by more than six 
thousand white men had a most paralyzing effect upon the Indians. 
More than fifty of their towns had been burned, their orchards 
and crops had been destroyed, their cattle and horses had been 
killed, their large stores of deer skins had been plundered, hundreds 
of their people had been killed or had died of starvation and 
exposure, and those left alive had become fugitives in the moun- 
tains, and through the winter that followed were compelled to 
live on chestnuts, herbs, and such game as they were able to take. 

By a treaty executed at De Witt's Corners in South Carolina, 
the Lower Cherokees surrendered all their remaining territory in 
South Carolina except a small strip on the western border; the 
Middle and Upper Cherokees gave all the land they claimed east 


of the Blue Ridge, and also all the disputed territory on the Wa- 
tauga, the Nolichucky, the Upper Holston, and the New Rivers. 
(See Mooney's Myths of the Cherokees for a more detailed recital 
of the Cherokee Wars. See also Griffin's History of Old Tryon and 
Rutherford Counties.) 



Brother, I am now going to speak to you .... 
We are a poor, distressed people that is in great 
trouble, and we hope our elder brother will take 
pity on us and do us justice. 

Your people from Nolichucky are daily pushing us 
out of our lands. We have no place to hunt on. 
Your people have built houses within one day's 
journey of our town. We do not want to quarrel 
with our elder Brother; we therefore hope our 
elder Brother will not take our lands from us that 
the Great Man above gave us. He made you and 
He made us; we are all His children, and we hope 
our elder Brother will take pity on us, and not 
take our lands that our Father gave us, because 
he is stronger than we are. We are the first people 
that ever lived on this land; it is ours, and why 
will our elder Brother take it from us! We hope 
that you will take pity on your younger Brother, 
and send Colonel Sevier, who is a good man, to 
have all your people moved off our lands. 

From the plea of Old Tassel, of Echota, to the 
Governor of North Carolina and Virginia, deliv- 
ered September 25, 1782, at a conference with 
Colonel Joseph Martin. 

World's Best Orations, Volume 7, page 2569. 

It may be stated here that the foregoing eloquent plea of Old 
Tassel went unheeded, and those who had encroached upon the 
Indian land, in violation of the treaty concluded at Long Island, 
were not required to move. The time came, too, when Old Tassel 
had ample reason to believe that he was mistaken in his opinion 
that John Sevier was a good man. After the little war between 
John Sevier and John Tipton had ended in the later's favor, and 

308 Random Thoughts and the 

the State of Franklin, of which Sevier was Governor, had come 
to an end, Sevier led a band of about forty men against the 
Indian town of Chilhowa. The Indians put out a white flag; and 
the whites also raised one. One of the Indians, who had crossed 
the river in a boat, was induced to row Sevier and his men to the 
other side. Old Tassel was there, and it was well known that the 
Indians of this town were friendly to the whites. Old Tassel himself 
had for years been foremost in the endeavor to prevent Indian 
raids on the white settlers. However, after disarming the Indians, 
Sevier put them in a hut, and John Kirk, one of Sevier's troops, 
whose mother, sisters, and brothers, had been killed by other Indians 
who had no connection with the Indians in question, went into the 
hut with his tomahawk, brained, killed, and scalped every one of 
these chiefs, while his comrades looked on and made no effort to 
prevent this horrible butchery of innocent and defenseless men. 

The frontiersmen everywhere were outraged by this atrocity, 
and public sentiment became so aroused that Sevier's followers 
scattered. The Continental Congress passed a resolution condemn- 
ing the outrage, and the justices of the Court at Abbeville, South 
Carolina, led by Andrew Pickens, wrote to the people settled on 
the Nolichucky, the French Broad, and the Holston, and scath- 
ingly denounced Sevier and his men. The Governor of North 
Carolina, upon hearing the horrible story, ordered that Sevier and 
his men be at once arrested for treason against the State. Sevier 
was brought to jail at Morganton, but he escaped and was never 
tried. In 1789, Washington County, in the present State of Ten- 
nessee, but then in North Carolina, elected Sevier to the North 
Carolina Legislature, and toward the end of the session he was 
permitted to take his seat, and the charge of treason was dropped. 
He was a representative in Congress from North Carolina — from 
March, 1789, to March, 1791 — and was the first Governor of the 
new State of Tennessee. (Arthur's History of Western North 
Carolina, pages 117, 118, and 122.) 

Sevier no doubt rendered signal service both in the field and 
in the councils of the State and Nation. History refers to him as a 
pioneer statesman, and the great State of Tennessee still sings his 
praises, and honors his memory as one of their greatest men; but 
let me ask, Who sings the praises of Old Tassel, the great Indian 
Chief, who always advocated peace between the Indians and their 
^Elder Brother", and who asked nothing more than that his people 

Musings of a Mountaineer 309 

be permitted to retain their own land, the peaceable possession of 
which had been guaranteed to them by the joint treaty of the 
Colonies of Virginia and North Carolina, and the Cherokee 
Nation, at the Long Island of the Holston on the second day 
of July, 1777? 

Sevier's treatment of Old Tassel on this occasion, or, rather, 
the atrocities that he permitted to be perpetrated against Tassel 
and the other Chiefs by Kirk and his men, calls to my mind the 
treatment which ancient Rome visited upon Carthage. The historian 
Rollins tells us that when the Third Punic War was declared by 
the Romans, they sent a messenger to Carthage to announce the 
declaration long after the Roman army had started on its way. 
The Carthagenians at once sent messengers to beg for peace. The 
Romans demanded the surrender of three hundred hostages before 
they would enter into negotiations. When three hundred sons of 
the Nobles of Carthage had been given into their hands, the 
Romans further demanded the delivery of all the arms and imple- 
ments of war before they would announce the terms of the treaty. 
These conditions were sorrowfully, but promptly, complied with, 
and the people who boast of their Hannibal and Hamilcar, gave 
up to their ancient enemies every weapon of offense and defense. 
Then the Roman Consul, rising up before the humiliated repre- 
sentatives of Carthage, said: "I cannot but commend you for the 
readiness with which you have obeyed every order. The decree of 
the Roman Senate is that Carthage shall be destroyed!" (Rollin's 
Ancient History, Volume I, pages 407-409.) 

Old Tassel had said in his pathetic appeal quoted at the begin- 
ning of this chapter, "We are the first people that ever lived on 
this land; it is ours." .... Old Tassel spoke the truth. There 
is some evidence that prior to the occupation of the Alleghanies 
by the Cherokees, certain sections in our mountains had been oc- 
cupied by some unknown people; but nothing definite is known 
of them. The answer to the question asked by old Tassel in his 
eloquent appeal to the Governors of Virginia and North Carolina 
is found in the decisions of our Courts. 

In the case of Johnson and Graham's Lessee v. Mcintosh, 21 
U. S., page 572, Chief Justice Marshal, among other things, says: 
"In the establishment of these relations with the Indians, the 
rights of the original inhabitants were in no instance entirely dis- 
regarded; but were, necessarily, to a considerable extent impaired. 

310 Random Thoughts and the 

They were admitted to be the rightful occupants of the soil, with 
a legal as well as a just claim to retain possession of it, and to use 
it according to their own discretion; but their rights to complete 
sovereignty as independent nations, were necessarily diminished, 
and their power to dispose of the soil, at their own will, to whom- 
soever they pleased, was denied by the original fundamental prin- 
ciple that discovery gave exclusive title to those who made it. While 
the different nations of Europe respected the rights of the natives 
as occupants, they asserted the ultimate dominion to be in them- 
selves; and claimed and exercised as a consequence of this ultimate 
dominion a power to grant the soil while yet in possession of these 
natives. These grants have been understood by all to convey a title 
to the grantees subject only to the Indian right of occupancy." 

In Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U. S., page 515, Chief Justice 
Marshal, writing the opinion for the Court, says: "The great 
maritime powers of Europe discovered and visited different parts 
of this continent at nearly the same time. The object was too 
immense for any one of them to grasp the whole; and as the 
claimants were too powerful to submit to the exclusive or un- 
reasonable pretentions of any single potentate, to avoid bloody 
conflicts which might terminate disastrously to all, it was necessary 
for the nations of Europe to establish some principle which all 
would acknowledge, and which would decide their respective rights 
as between themselves. This principle, suggested by the actual state 
of things, was that discovery gave title to the government by whose 
subjects, or by whose authority it was made, against all other 
European governments, which title might be consummated by 
possession. This principle, acknowledged by all Europeans, gave 
to the nation making the discovery the sole right of acquiring the 
soil and making settlements upon it." 

In the case of Fletcher v. Peck, reported in 6th Cranch, 119, 
it is said: "What is the Indian title? It is a mere occupancy for 
the purpose of hunting. It is not like a tenure; they have no idea 
of a title to the soil itself; it is overrun by them, rather than in- 
habited. It is not a true and legal possession. It is a right, not to 
be transferred, but extinguished." 

Whatever rights and titles Great Britain had to lands in North 
America, including the lands embraced within the boundaries of 
North Carolina, were transferred to the Thirteen Original Col- 
onies or States, by the Treaty of Peace executed at Paris on 

Musings of a Mountaineer 311 

September 3, 1783, and ratified by Congress on January 14, 1784. 
That Treaty, among other things, provides: "His Brittanic Majesty 
acknowledges the United States, to-wit: (Here naming them, in- 
cluding North Carolina), to be free, sovereign, and independent 
states; that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs 
and successors, relinquishes all claims to the Government Proprie- 
tary, and the Territorial rights to the same, and every part there- 
of." So it will appear that the King of England ceded nothing 
to the United States as such, but by the Treaty ceded to the Thir- 
teen Colonies all the land embraced within their respective boun- 
daries. This fact has always been recognized both by the Federal 
Courts and the Courts of the Original Thirteen States. (See 
Lattimore v. Poteat, 39 U. S., 14; Brown v. Brown, 106 N. C, 
455, and Strother v. Cathey, 5 N. C, page 167.) 

The question of the title to the lands west of the Blue Ridge in 
North Carolina, after the Indian occupancy ceased, was settled by 
the provisions of the Treaties themselves. In all there were eight 
treaties affecting the Indian titles to their lands in Western North 
Carolina, some of which were concluded between North Carolina 
and surrounding Colonies, and the Cherokee Nation, and the 
others between the United States and the Cherokee Indians. 

First, the Treaty of 1761, by which the Blue Ridge was made 
the Indian boundary. 

Second, the treaty of 1772, and the purchase of 1773, by which 
the ridge between the Nolichucky and Watauga Rivers from their 
sources in the Blue Ridge westward, and the Blue Ridge to the 
Virginia line was made the eastern boundary. 

Third, the Joint Treaty made and concluded between the States 
of Virginia and North Carolina and the Cherokees, at the Long 
Island on the Holston, on July 2, 1777, the Blue Ridge was made 
the eastern boundary. 

Fourth, the Treaty of Hopewell, of November 28, 1785, by 
which the line was moved westward to a line running east of 
Marshall, Asheville, and Hendersonville. 

Fifth, the Treaties of Tellico, October 25, 1804, and October 25 
and 27, 1805, which affected only Tennessee, Kentucky, and 
Georgia, and one concluded at Washington, D. C, January 7, 
1806, affecting lands between the Duck and Tennessee Rivers. 

Sixth, the Treaty of Holston, establishing the noted Meigs and 
Freeman line, whose location has been the deciding point in perhaps 

312 Random Thoughts and the 

a hundred lawsuits, and extended from where Hawkins' line crosses 
the Smoky Mountains to Ellocut's Rock in the middle of Chat- 
tooga River on the dividing line between North and South Carolina, 
and which crosses Jackson County, just to the east of Sylva. 

Seventh, the Treaty of 1819, by which the line was moved west- 
ward to the Nantahala and Tennessee Rivers, twenty miles west 
of Franklin. 

Eighth, the Treaty of New Echota, in 1835, by which the title 
to all of the Cherokee lands in North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama was extinguished, and under 
which the Cherokees agreed to remove west of the Mississippi. 

By reference to the above-named Treaties, it appears that, each 
time a new treaty was entered into, the eastern boundary line in 
Western North Carolina was moved to the westward. As soon as 
each successive treaty was entered into, all the lands lying to the 
east of the newly established eastern boundary was at once thrown 
open to entry and grant by the North Carolina Legislature. (See 
Whitney's Land Laws of Tennessee; Revised Statutes of North 
Carolina, Volume 2; Code of 1883, pages 67 to 79, inclusive.) 

Upon the conclusion of a treaty, the title to the Indian lands 
was not transferred but was extinguished. If the land affected was 
a part of the domain of the United States when the Indian title — 
the right of occupancy — was extinguished, the entire title, that is, 
the fee and the right to possession, at once vested in the United 
States. But when a treaty was concluded between the United 
States and an Indian tribe respecting any lands within the boun- 
daries of the Thirteen Original Colonies, or in Texas, eo instanti, 
both the fee and the right of occupnacy vested, not in the United 
States, but in the state in which the land was situated. This is so, 
because the land embraced in the Original Thirteen Colonies, and 
the land embraced within the boundaries of Texas, never formed 
a part of the domain of the United States. 

As already stated, North Carolina, and the other Colonies com- 
posing the Original Thirteen, were hoary with age long before the 
United States Government was formed; and the Treaty of Paris 
ceded the lands to the Colonies and not to the United States. 

After Texas achieved its independence and was organized into a 
Republic under the leadership of Sam Houston, this republic of 
Texas was annexed to the United States by the mutual consent of 
the two republics. Texas has never admitted to the Union in the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 313 

sense that our other Terriotries have been admitted to Statehood. 

With respect to a title extinguished by a Treaty with an Indian 
Tribe, the law is further stated in 14 Ruling Case Law at page 
134, as follows: "Then, upon the extinguishment of the Indian 
title, where was the fee? In 14 R. C. L., at top of page 134, we 
find this statement: *A formal act of cession on the part of the 
tribe, by Treaty or otherwise, operates to determine the Indian 
title, and is the usual method in which such rights have been extin- 
guished; the interest of each member of the tribe is divested by 
the tribal cession, there being no cessity or reason for the joinder 
of individuals in the act of cession. The possession of Indian lands, 
when abandoned by the Indians, attaches itself to the fee without 
further grant, and such relinquishment is as effectual as a formal 
act of cession'." 

I here call attention to the fact that the United States did not 
exchange any lands with the Cherokee Nation. It set apart the 
large Reservation which they afterwards occupied west of the 
Mississippi, and the consideration moving the United States to 
grant to the Cherokees this Reservation had no reference to the 
lands that were being ceded in North Carolina to which the title 
was extinguished by the Treaty of New Echota. 

"In the meantime — from the Treaty of 1828 until the treaty of 
New Echota — the Cherokees remaining east of the Mississippi 
were subjected to harassing and vexatious legislation from the 
States within which they resided. The United States had, as early 
as 1802, agreed with Georgia, in consideration of her cession of 
wesertn lands, to extinguish the Indian title to lands within the 
State. North Carolina claimed that the United States were under 
a similar obligation to extinguish the Indian title to lands within 
her limits, in consideration of a like cession of western lands, 
although there was no positive agreement to that effect. And with 
the extinguishment of their title, it was expected that the Indians 
themselves would be removed to territory beyond the bounds of 
those States. At the time the Treaty of 1828 was made, a great deal 
of impatience had been exhibited by the people of those States at 
the little progress made in the extinguishment of the Indian title, 
and at the continued presence of the Indians. Severe and oppres- 
sive laws were passed by Georgia in order to compel them to leave; 
and, though less severity was practiced in North Carolina towards 
the Indians in that State, an equally pronounced desire for their 

314 Random Thoughts and the 

departure was expressed. Angry and violent disputes between them 
and the white people in both States, but more particularly in 
Georgia, were of frequent occurrence. The Treaty of New Echota 
was made to put an end to those troubles and to secure the reunion 
of the divided nation. It recites as motives to its negotiation, among 
other things, that the Cherokees were anxious to make some ar- 
rangement with the Government of the United States, whereby 
the difficulties they had experienced from residence within the 
settled parts of the country under the jurisdiction and laws of the 
State governments might be terminated and adjusted, and they be 
reunited into one body, and be secured a permanent home for 
themselves and their posterity in the country selected by their 
forefathers, without the territorial limits of the State sovereignties, 
and where they could establish and enjoy a government of their 
choice, and perpetuate such a state of society as might be most 
consonant with their views, habits, and conditions, and as might 
tend to their individual comfort and their own advancement in 
civilization." (Cherokee Trust Funds, 117 U. S., at pages 300 
and 301.) 

The Treaty of New Echota, Georgia, was signed on December 
29, 1835. Out of a population of over 17,000 only from 300 to 500 
men, women, and children attended the conference. 

By this Treaty the Cherokee Nation ceded to the United States 
all of its remaining territory east of the Mississippi, including the 
Indian lands in Western North Carolina, for the sum of five 
million dollars, and a common joint interest in the territory already 
occupied by the Western Cherokees who had removed some years 
before, into what is now Oklahoma, with an additional smaller 
tract in what is now Kansas. Under the provisions of the Treaty, 
improvements were to be paid for, and the Indians were to be 
removed at the expense of the United States and supported by the 
Government for one year after their arrival in the new territory. 
The removal was to take place within two years from the ratifica- 
tion of the treaty. 

On the representations of the Cherokee signers, who, no doubt, 
would not have signed otherwise, it was agreed that a limited num- 
ber of Cherokees who should desire to remain in North Carolina, 
Tennessee, and Alabama, and became citizens, they first having 
been adjudged "qualified or calculated to become citizens, they first 
having been adjudged "qualified or calculated to become useful 

Musings of a Mountaineer 315 

citizens," might so remain, together with a few holding individual 
tracts of land under former treaties. This provision was allowed by 
the Commissioners, but was afterwards struck out on the an- 
nouncement by President Andrew Jackson of his determination 
"not to allow any preemptions or reservations, his desire being that 
the whole Cherokee people should remove together." 

As the time approached for carrying the provisions of the Treaty 
into effect, bitter feeling arose on the part of the Indians. An agent 
who was sent down by the Government to report on the situation 
wrote to the authorities in September, 1837, that opposition to the 
Treaty was unanimous and irreconcilable, the Indians insisting that 
the Treaty could not bind them because it was not made by them; 
that it had been made by a few unauthorized individuals and that 
the Cherokee Nation was not a party to it. The Cherokees had 
retained their form of government ,albeit no election had been held 
since 1830, while the officers then elected had continued to serve. 
Under this arrangement John Ross, a half-breed, was principal 
chief, whose influence among the Cherokees was unbounded. The 
agent above-mentioned further reported to the Government: "The 
whole Nation of 18,000 persons is with him (Ross) , a few — about 
three hundred who made the treaty — already having left the coun- 
try .... It is evident, therefore that Ross and his party are in 
fact the Cherokee Nation. I believe that the mass of the Nation, 
particularly the mountain Indians, will stand or fall with Ross." 
(From the report of J. M. Mason, May 31, 1838, to the Secretary 
of War.) 

Until the last, the Cherokees believed that the Treaty would 
never be enforced, and with all the pressure that could possibly be 
brought to bear upon them only about 2,000 of the 17,000 in the 
Eastern Nation had removed at the expiration of the time fixed by 
the Treaty— May 26, 1838. 

It having then become apparent that the removal could only be 
accomplished by force, General Winfield Scott was appointed for 
that purpose, with instructions to start the removal to the west at 
the earliest possible day. He was ordered to take command of the 
troops already stationed in the Cherokee Country, together with 
additional reenforcements of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, with 
authority to call upon the Governors of the adjoining States for 
as many as 4,000 militia and volunteers. The whole force thus 
employed numbered about 7,000 men — regulars, militia, and vol- 

316 Random Thoughts and the 

unteers. The Indians had previously been disarmed by General 
Wool of the United States Army. 

At that time my father, Colonel John H. Alley, lived in Ruther- 
ford County, North Carolina, and was Colonel of the Militia of 
that County; and he, with his regiment, was ordered by General 
Scott to assist in the removal. From my earliest childhood to the 
time of his death, he often talked to me about the hardships, suf- 
fering, and heart-breaks experienced by the Indians all the way 
from their loved native land to their faraway home in the Indian 
Territory. He was never proud of the part his duty as an officer 
compelled him to play in that tragedy, for tragedy it was. 

When General Scott reached the Cherokee Country, he estab- 
lished headquarters at the capitol, New Echota, in Georgia, and 
from there on May 10, 1838, he issued his proclamation to the 
Cherokees, whereby he warned them that the removal must at once 
commence, and that before another moon had passed every Chero- 
kee man, woman, and child must be on their way to join their 
brethren in the far West, pursuant to the orders of the President, 
which he, the General, had come to enforce. 

The Proclamation concludes in these words: "The troops already 
occupy many positions, and thousands and thousands are approach- 
ing from every quarter to render resistance and escape alike hope- 
less. Will you, then, by resistance, compel us to resort to arms? 
Or, will you by flight, seek to hide yourselves in mountains and 
forests and thus oblige us to hunt you down?" 

No chapter in American history is more heavily freighted with 
grief and pathos than the history of the removal of the Cherokee 
Indians in 1838, and the events which led up to it, as I have heard 
the story from the lips of my father, and as I have read it in books 
of history and the reports of the Court decisions. 

Under the orders of General Scott the troops were stationed at 
various points throughout the Cherokee Country, where stockades 
and forts were built for holding the Indians when brought in as 
prisoners, at the point of the rifle and bayonet, from every cabin 
in the mountain coves or on the banks of the mountain streams. 
Their cabins were burned, their cattle driven off; and by vandals 
who followed in the wake of the army, their graves were robbed 
of silver pendants and other valuables that had been buried with 
their dead, as was the Indian custom. To prevent escapes, the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 317 

soldiers had been ordered to surround each cabin so as to catch 
their prey unawares. 

It is said that one old patriarch, when surprised in this manner, 
calmly called his children and grand-children around him and had 
them kneel and pray with him in their own language, in the pres- 
ence of the soldiers, and then, calling his family, voluntarily led 
the way into exile. 

A woman, finding her cabin surrounded, went to the door, called 
up her chickens and fed them for the last time, and then, taking 
her "papoose" on her back and her two other little children by the 
hand, followed her husband into "captivity". 

But all of them were not quite so submissive. There was an old 
man by the name of Tsali (Charlie) who was seized, with his wife, 
his brother, and three sons and their families, and who become so 
indignant because the soldiers prodded his wife with bayonets to 
make her walk faster, that he and these other men each grabbed 
a soldier and tried to take their guns from them. One soldier was 
killed and the others ran, and the Indians escaped to the mountains. 
Hundreds of others escaped from the stockades, and General Scott, 
finding it well nigh impossible to capture these fugitives, made 
them a proposition through their friend, Colonel W. H. Thomas, 
that if they would surrender Tsali for punishment, the others 
might have their cases passed upon by the Government. Tsali then 
came in with his sons and offered to sacrifice himself to save his 
people. By the command of General Scott, a detachment of Chero- 
kee prisoners was compelled to shoot Tsali, his brother, and his 
two elder sons; and it was stated that the Indians were thus com- 
pelled to shoot their own people in order to impress upon them 
the fact of their utter helplessness. From these fugitives — between 
eleven hundred and twelve hundred in all — originated the present 
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians now living in the mountains 
of Western North Carolina. 

When nearly 17,000 Cherokees had been gathered into the vari- 
ous stockades, the removal began. In June, 1838, about five thou- 
sand Indians were taken to Calhoun, on the Hiawassee, and to the 
present Chattanooga, and to the present Guntersville, Alabama, 
lower down on the Tennessee, where they were put upon steamers 
and transported down the Tennessee and the Ohio Rivers to the 
farther side of the Mississippi and then by land to the Indian 

318 Random Thoughts and the 

Then, in October, 1838, the remaining exiles, about 13,000 in 
all, went overland, crossing to the north side of the Hiawassee, the 
sick, the old people, and the little children, with blankets, cooking 
pots, and other articles, in wagons, of which there were 645, while 
the younger and the stronger rode horses or walked. They crossed 
the Tennessee at Tucker's Ferry, near the mouth of the Hiawassee; 
then by way of Pikeville, through McMinnville, crossed the Cum- 
berland at Nashville. They then went by Hopkinsville, Kentucky, 
and crossed the Ohio near the mouth of the Cumberland, passed 
through southern Illinois, reaching the Mississippi at Cape Gir- 
ardeau. Crossing here at Green's Ferry, they marched on through 
Missouri to the Indian Territory, the terrible journey ending in 
March, 1839; and to this day the Indians refer to the route they 
traveled as "The Way of Tears." More than 1600 Indians died 
on this journey. Hundreds had died in the stockades before re- 
moval started; hundreds of others died after reaching the Indian 
Territory as the result of sickness and exposure on the journey. 

It has been officially stated that more than 4,000 Indians died 
as the direct result of the removal. (See Fifth Annual Report of 
the Bureau of Ethnology, page 222.) 

I have heard my father say that scores of babies were born on 
the way, some in wagons during the day, and some in the camps at 
night; but the removal was not halted on this account. 

In Oklahoma there are now approximately 40,000 Cherokee In- 
dians, when the mixed breeds are included. 

The Eastern Cherokees are the descendants of those who eluded 
the pursuit of the soldiers in the general round-up in 1838, and 
those who managed to escape from the guards at the various 
collecting stations. As already stated, the number remaining was 
between eleven hundred and twelve hundred. The work of running 
them down was well-nigh impossible, for those escaping fled to 
the remotest recesses of the mountains, and found refuge in an 
untamed wilderness. 

W. H. Thomas, always the friend of the Cherokees, went to 
Washington to endeavor to perfect some arrangement for their 
permanent setlement here in their native mountains; and it is said 
that to him the Eastern Cherokees are indebted for their existence 
as a people. 

President Jackson having had the provision in the Treaty of New 
Echota which permitted a limited number of Indians to remain in 

Musings of a Mountaineer 319 

this country, stricken from the Treaty, those that escaped were 
made landless aliens in their native land. 

Thomas remained in Washington the greater part of the time 
from 1838 to 1842, and finally obtained the permission of the 
Government for these Indians to remain in North Carolina. The 
Government also agreed that they should have their share of the 
moneys due for improvements and lands confiscated, and this sum 
was placed at Thomas' disposal, as agent and trustee for the 
Indians. Under this authority he purchased for them the present 
boundary which they occupy in Jackson and Swain Counties, on 
Ocona Lufta River and Soco Creek, together with several tracts in 
Cherokee and Graham Counties. 

Following the Treaty of New Echota and up to 1866, North 
Carolina refused to recognize Indians as land owners within the 
State, and for this reason Thomas took title in his own name for 
the lands so purchased by him as Trustee for the Indians. On 
account of complications arising through certain creditors of 
Thomas, and other parties asserting claims to some of the tracts he 
had purchased, an Act of Congress was passed, July 15, 1870, 
authorizing the institution of a suit in Equity, to ascertain the 
rights of the parties and settle the matters in dispute. 

In this suit, Arbitrators were appointed in the United States 
District Court at Asheville, and thereafter an award was made, 
which, among other things, recites in substance that these lands 
were purchased with funds belonging to the Indians, and a deed 
was made to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which recites 
the same facts. 

These Indians were entitled to certain moneys after the War 
between the States, which the Government refused to pay over to 
them, unless they moved to the Indian Territory, or secured an Act 
of the Legislature of North Carolina allowing them to remain 
permanently in the State. Promptly thereafter this permission was 
granted by the North Carolina Legislature, by Chapter 64 of 
the Laws of 1866. 

In the meantime, in the case of Cherokee Trust Funds, 117 U. S., 
pages 303 and 309, the Supreme Court of the U. S. held: 

"They are without organization or a collective name. They 
ceased to be part of the Cherokee Nation, and hence they became 
citizens of and were subject to the laws of the State in which they 
resided .... The Cherokees of North Carolina dissolved their 

320 Random Thoughts and the 

connection with their Nation when they refused to accompany the 
body of it on its removal, and they have had no separate political 
organization since. Whatever union they have had among them- 
selves has been merely a social or a business one. It was formed in 
1868, at the suggestion of an officer of the Indian Office, for the 
purpose of enabling them to transact business more conveniently 
with the Government. Although its articles were drawn in the form 
of a Constitution for a separate civil government, they have never 
been recognized as a separate nation by the United States; no 
Treaty has been made with them; they can pass no laws. As well 
observed by the Court of Claims in its exhaustive opinion, they 
have been in some matters fostered and encouraged, but never 
recognized as a Nation in whole or in part." 

The Federal Court, in U. S. v. Boyd, 68 Federal Reporter, at 
page 579, says: "It must not be understood that these Cherokee 
Indians, although not citizens of the United States and still under 
pupilage, are independent of the State of North Carolina. They 
live within her territory. They hold lands under her sovereignty, 
under her tenure. They are in daily contact with her people. They 
are not a Nation or a tribe. They can enjoy privileges she may 
grant. They are subject to her crimnial laws. None of the laws 
applicable to Indian Reservations apply to them." 

During the year 1868 the North Carolina Cherokees endeavored 
to effect a tribal organization or Constitution to live under. This 
attempted organization was held invalid by the decision of the 
Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Eastern Band 
of Cherokee Indians v. United States and Cherokee Nation, West, 
117 U. S., 288; and thereafter the Legislature of North Carolina 
again came to their relief and passed Chapter 211 of the Private 
Laws of 1889, incorporating the Indians into the Eastern Band of 
Cherokee Indians. This statute was subsequently amended by 
Chapter 166 of the Private Laws of 1895, and by Chapter 207 of 
the Private Laws of 1897. 

The Indians in question are subject to the criminal laws of North 
Carolina and are punished in her Courts for offenses committed by 
them. They invoke the aid of the North Carolina Courts for the 
redress of their grievances. They use the public roads and high- 
ways built at the expense of the State and County. They are edu- 
cated in a school supported and maintained by the Federal Gov- 
ernment, but which they are compelled to attend by virtue of 

Musings of a Mountaineer 321 

Chapter 213, Laws of 1905. They are not required to pay taxes 
for the support of the State or County schools, although, in some 
instances, such tax has been paid in the past, but in some, if not 
all instances, the same was refunded. 

They are in daily contact with the people of North Carolina. 
They can enjoy privileges which she may grant, and none of the 
laws applicable to Indian Reservations apply to them. They may 
take and hold land by Grant in North Carolina under its Constitu- 
tion and laws. (Colvard v. Monroe, 63 N. C, 288.) 

This Band of Cherokee Indians, holding their land in fee, can 
alienate the same, but the contract is reviewable by the Govern- 
ment for one purpose only, to protect them from fraud or wrong, 
and they having been incorporated as a body politic, with the power 
of suing and being sued, the Acts of this Band are reviewable only 
to protect the members from fraud and wrong. Thus it will be 
seen that this Band of Indians holds all their lands in the Qualla 
boundary and elsewhere in fee, as a corporation, duly organized 
under the laws of the State of North Carolina, and that Govern- 
ment jurisdiction over their lands and Indians is limited by the 
decrees of the Courts to cases where unjust or unfair dealing is 
alleged and proved. 

The Treaty of New Echota attempted to confer upon the rem- 
nant of the Cherokee Nation remaining in North Carolina the 
right to become citizens of this State, but it did not confer upon 
them citizenship. It authorized them to become citizens only when 
it should be recognized that they were qualified or calculated to 
become useful citizens. This presupposes some sort of examination 
into the question of their qualification, and a favorable decision 

In Cherokee Trust Funds Case, 117 U. S., 303, it was said: 
"They ceased to be a part of the Cherokee Nation and henceforth 
became citizens of and were subject to the laws of the State in 
which they resided." In many respects, however, they were treated 
as citizens. 

There are many other privileges that they enjoy. They are pun- 
ishable in North Carolina's Courts for the offenses they commit, 
except such as are committed against the United States, and white 
people are punished for offenses committed against them. As indi- 
viduals these Indians go into the Courts of North Carolina for 
the redress of their grievances. 

322 Random Thoughts and the 

And if a parent refuses to send his children to school in obed- 
ience to the provisions of State law, he is indictable and punish- 
able in the State Courts by virtue of the provisions of such law. 
(State v. Wolf, 145 N. C, 440.) 

They are not permitted to marry under the ancient customs of 
their tribe, but must be married in accordance with the North 
Carolina laws. (State v. Ta-cha-na-tah, 64 N. C, 614.) 

The laws of North Carolina permit resident Cherokees to take 
and hold land by grant. (Colvard v. Monroe, 63 N. C, 288.) 

The Courts of North Carolina uphold against its own citizens 
the title of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, held under 
North Carolina tenure. (Frazier v. Cherokee Indians, 146 N. C, 

There contracts for more than $10.00 must be in writing. (C. S., 

So it will be seen that for all practical purposes the North 
Carolina Cherokees have always been treated as other citizens in 
the State have been treated, but the State could not confer citizen- 
ship upon them, as, before becoming legal citizens of North Caro- 
lina, they must first become citizens of the United States. 

Now, how can an Indian become a citizen? In Elk v. Wilkins, 
112 U. S., at page 194, it is held that an Indian may acquire citi- 
zenship in any one of three different ways: First, by the terms of a 
Treaty; second, by Act of Congress; and third, by becoming nat- 
uralized, as the subject of a foreign power would have to do. On 
the other hand, citizenship, when once vested, may be lost in only 
three ways: First, by forfeiture, as in case of conviction for an 
infamous crime; second, by the voluntary withdrawal of citizenship 
from this Government and becoming a citizen of a foreign power 
in accordance with its laws; and third, by conquest, as in the case 
of the destruction of a Government by a conquering foe. An in- 
stance of the last occurs in the case of our war with Mexico, when 
all the Mexican people who remained within the conquered terri- 
tory ceased to be citizens of Mexico and became citizens of the 
United States. (Boyd v. Thayer, 143 U. S., 167; McKinney v. 
Saviago, 59 U. S., 240.) 

Although not citizens of the United States, North Carolina 
permitted these Indians to vote prior to the adoption of the suf- 
frage amendment of 1900. They were made citizens by the General 
Act of Congress approved June 2, 1924, which conferred citizen- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 323 

ship on all non-citizen Indians. (43 Statutes at Large, page 253.) 

But the Act of Congress, June 4, 1924, 43 Statutes at Large, 
376, which exempted their lands from taxation, in like manner 
attempts to provide that the Indians constituting this Band shall 
not become citizens of the United States until after the allotment 
of the lands in severalty shall have been completed and the re- 
strictions removed therefrom. But to put the question forever at 
rest with reference to the right of the Indians in question to become 
citizens, Congress passed an Act which clarifies the situation and 
confers upon the individual members of the Eastern Band of 
Cherokees all the privileges of citizenship. So now they have the 
right to vote, if they can meet the educational requirements under 
our Constitution. 

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a North Carolina cor- 
poration, now owns in fee under North Carolina tenure 50,000 
acres of land in Jackson and Swain Counties, and other tracts 
situated in Cherokee, and Graham Counties, containing 13,000 
acres. They have a population of about 3500, most of whom are 
full-blooded Cherokees. 

Under the authority conferred by statute incorporating them 
into the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, they have their own 
government for the regulation of their tribal affairs. A Chief, a 
Vice-Chief, a Marshall, and a Council consisting of twelve, are 
elected every four years by a vote of the people of the several 
districts or "Towns" — Bird Town, Paint Town, Wolf Town, 
Yellow Hill (now Cherokee), and Big Cove. 

While the title to the lands is vested in the corporation, the 
Indians, as among themselves, own the land by a species of tenancy 
in common. 

The seat of Government is at Cherokee, where the school is 
maintained; and there the Council, from time to time, sets apart 
to the heads of families, small tracts of the common land, and 
when improvements are placed upon it, the Indian to whom the 
particular tract is assigned, may, through himself and his heirs, 
hold it indefinitely against all other Indians. He may transfer his 
possession and improvements by deed to another Indian, but not 
to a white man or a negro. 

The Cherokee Indians were the first occupants of our mountains, 
as I have already shown, and had lived therein since soon after the 
conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards. The European countries 

324 Random Thoughts and the 

claimed the land by right of discovery, and, although they recog- 
nized the Indian's right of occupancy, they claimed the fee — the 
real ownership of the land itself. Our Courts, both State and Fed- 
eral, have always followed the European theory of the ownership 
of the soil. 

Our races, always looking for more room, by contract or treaty, 
oftentimes enforced by the sword, has pushed the Indians off of the 
lands of their fathers. This insatiable yearning for room, a craving 
characteristic of the white race, has caused most of the wars that 
have cursed the world. 

Terminus was the God of Boundaries in Roman Mythology. He 
presided over both public and private boundaries. His only sanc- 
tuary was in the Temple of Jupiter, on the Capitoline Hill, where 
he was honored in the form of a boundary stone, above which was 
an opening in the roof, that his rites might be performed, as ritual 
required, in the open air. Many nations and many men have been 
devotees of this divinity. We are told that Alexander the Great, 
the Macedonian King, sat down on the bank of the Indus and wept, 
because the limits of the earth were smaller than his imperial 
desires. The Roman Legions planted their banners in every country 
of the then known world, because Rome wanted room. The thun- 
ders of Napoleon's cannon reverberated throughout Europe and 
the lands of many countries were drenched with human blood 
because he desired to annex the countries of Europe to the domain 
of France. In recent years, to satisfy the craving for more room, 
Italy, by the force of numbers and the modern equipment of war- 
fare conquered Ethiopia — the oldest kingdom in the world; and it is 
now an Italian Colony. Germany, without the slightest cause, 
justification, or excuse, overpowered the comparatively defenseless 
Poles, and sought to add their territory to the German Empire; but 
Russia, moved by greater greed, stepped in, and without the loss of 
a single life, or the firing of a single gun, appropriated two-thirds 
of the territory of Poland, and Germany, being at War with Eng- 
land and France, could not utter a word of protest. Without excuse, 
and in open violation of her solemn contract, Germany dismem- 
bered Czecho-Slovakia, and now claims the best part of her 
territory. For three years, in an undeclared war, the armies of 
Japan have been butchering countless thousands of the unprepared 
and peace-loving Chinese; and today, as the world looks on in 
amazement and admiration, brave, gallant, little Finland, outnum- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 325 

bered fifty to one, is fighting the greatest battle ever known to the 
military history of all the world, to thwart the hoggish greed of 
Russia to add to her already boundless acres. 

In recent years the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have made 
considerable progress, abundant evidence of which may be seen not 
only in the conduct and habits of the Indians themselves, but in 
their Annual Fair held at Cherokee in each October. Those among 
them who are industrious live in reasonable comfort, but very few 
of them accumulate money or property. Like their remote Chinese 
ancestors, the people as a rule, are inherently honest. They never 
forget a kindness or an injury. What their future will be, there 
is no prophet to prognosticate. 

The world can never repay the debt it owes to the American 
Indian for the useful food and other plants inherited from them. 
Many of the most universally used foods in the world today are of 
Indian origin. From them we inherit corn, and beans of many 
varieties. From them we received melons, pumpkins, squashes, 
chili peppers, and peanuts. Among the Indian fruits which we enjoy 
today are the banana, the pineapple, the plum, the persimmon, 
many varieties of the grape, the strawberry, and many other berries. 

In the far South they made chocolate from the cocoa plant, and 
in the more northerly climes they gathered the sap of the sugar 
maple and boiled it into blocks of maple sugar. They gave to us 
the white, or Irish potato, and the yam, or sweet potato, and the 
first tomatoes the world ever saw were those grown by Indians. 
They produced different kinds of hemp for the making of ropes 
and twine, and they produced the long staple cotton, while from 
the Llama and Alpaca they obtained their wool for clothing. The 
Indians were the first people in the world to use rubber, which they 
made into bottles; and they were the first producers of tobacco, 
the production and manufacture of which, from the stand-point 
of money value, constitutes North Carolina's greatest industry 
today. (See article by Mrs. Eddie Wilson, published in the May, 
1938, issue of The Elementary Teacher, Western Carolina Teach- 
ers' College; Old Civilizations of the New World.) 



I am in your power; do with me as you please. I 
am a soldier. I have done the white people all the 
harm I could; I have fought them, and fought them 
bravely. If I had an army I would yet fight and 
contend to the last; but I have none; my people 
are all gone. I can do no more than weep over the 
misfortunes of my nation. Once I could animate 
my warriors to battle; but I cannot animate the 
dead. My warriors can no longer hear my voice; 
their bones are at Talledega, Tallushatchee, Em- 
uckfaw and Tohopeka. I have not surrendered 
myself thoughtlessly. While there were chances of 
success I never left my post, nor supplicated 
peace; but my people are now gone, and I ask it 
for my nation and for myself. 

On the miseries and misfortunes brought on my 
counrty, I look back with deepest sorrow, and I 
wish to avert still greater calamities. If I had been 
left to contend with the Georgia army alone, I 
would have raised my corn on one bank of the 
river, and fought them on the other; but your 
people have destroyed my nation. You are a brave 
man; I rely on your generosity. You will exact no 
terms of a conquered people but such as they 
should accede to; whatever they may be, it would 
be madness and folly to oppose. If they are op- 
posed, you will find me among the sternest en- 
forcers of obedience. Those who would still hold 
out can only be influenced by a mean spirit of 
revenge, and to this they must not, and shall not, 
sacrifice the last remnant of their country. (From 
the speech by Weatherford, the greatest of the 
Creek Chiefs, delivered before General Jackson 
the 27th day of March, 1814, after his defeat of the 
Creeks at the Great Bend of the Tallapoosa River. 

World's Best Orations, Volume 7, pages 2570-71.) 


Be it said to the everlasting credit of "Old Hickory," that, 
after listening to Weatherford's eloquent speech, he was so im- 
pressed by the straight-forward and fearless manner of Weather- 
ford, he allowed him to go alone to gather up his people preliminary 
to arranging the terms of peace. Jackson declared afterwards that 
the Chief was as high-toned and fearless a man as he had ever met. 
Weatherford's father was a white man and his mother a Creek 
woman. (Mooney's Myths, page 217.) 

At the close of the Revolutionary War, the Cherokees were 
exhausted as the result of their disastrous conflicts with the white 
people. They were still at war with the Creek Nation, however, and 
in that war, Tecumseh, a famous Indian Chief of the Shawnees, 
born in Ohio, who had formed a plan for a great Confederacy of 
the Indians against the whites, visited the southern Indians, the 
Chocktaws, the Creeks, and the Cherokees, with the view of per- 
suading them to join his Confederacy; and it is said that he visited 
the great Cherokee Chief, Junaluska, at his home and at the Town 
House on Soco Creek in what is now Jackson County. 

In the Annals of Haywood County, by W. C. Allen, at pages 
44, 45, and 46, there is a story quoted from an account written 
many years before, which I here quote as follows: 

"It was one day in the summer of 1812 that the heralds of 
Tecumseh came to Cherokee in the mountains of Western North 
Carolina. They announced that the great Tecumseh was coming to 
speak to his brethren of the Balsams. 'Chief of the Cherokees/ 
said they, 'the Shooting Star of the West will be here in two days, 
and he desires all good Indians to meet him at Soco Gap.' The 
Indians called Tecumseh 'Shooting Star/ 

Then there was hurrying to and fro to give Tecumseh a welcome. 
They were not quite sure what he was coming for, but they wanted 
to hear what he might say. About one thousand chiefs and warriors 
met at the appointed place and time and seated themselves on the 
greensward. As Tecumseh came among them, he bowed to them 
and they to him. One chief spoke as follows: 'Shooting Star, you 
are known to us. We have often heard of you. We are glad that 
you have come to visit us. We have heard of what you have done 
in the far west, and want you to tell us more.' 

'My brother Cherokees/ said Tecumseh, 'I have long wanted to 
see your faces. You are of the same blood as the Shawnees, my 
people, who live toward the Big Sea Water. I am glad to see you. 

328 Random Thoughts and the 

You know that the Indian race was intended by the Great Spirit 
to be the masters of the world. The Master of Life Himself was 
an Indian. He made the Indian before the others of the human 
race. Indians sprang from the brain of the Great Spirit. The English 
and French were made from the breast, the Dutch from the feet, 
and the Long Knives (the Americans) from the hands of the Great 
Spirit. All these inferior races He made white, and put beyond the 
great ocean. He intended for them to stay there, but they have come 
in great crowds to take our land from us. Behold, what they did to 
the Pequots, the Narragansetts, the Powhatans, the Tuscaroras, 
and the Corees. They have put the sand upon them and they are no 
more. White men have built their castles where the Indian hunting 
grounds once were, and now they are coming into your mountain 
glens. Soon there will be no place for the Indians to hunt the deer. 
Cherokees, children of the Great Spirit, do you not see that it is 
time for you to draw the tomahawk?' In response to this direct 
question many chiefs and braves shouted *Yes', but the larger num- 
ber remained silent. Then one of the younger chiefs arose and said 
that the words of Tecumseh were the words of truth, and he was 
ready to follow his lead. Several others did likewise, but the older 
ones continued to smoke their pipes. At last, Junaluska, one of the 
bravest among them, spoke against beginning a war upon the white 
people, saying to the assembled chiefs and warriors: *It has been 
many years since the Cherokees have drawn the tomahawk. Our 
braves have forgotten how to use the scalping knife. We have 
learned that it is better not to war against our white brothers. They 
are as numerous as the leaves of the forest. We have been living 
near them for many years. They are friendly, and do not molest the 
lands of the Indians. I shall never raise my arm against them.' 
When Junaluska concluded his speech, several other chiefs ex- 
pressed similar views, and, it being apparent that an overwhelming 
majority was with Junaluska, Tecumseh had to return to the west 
without promise of any cooperation from the Cherokees. 

In the war with England, which soon followed, the Cherokees 
remained loyal to the United States, many of them enlisting in the 
regular army under Andrew Jackson, and they fought with him 
against the Creeks, in Tennessee and Alabama. 

Junaluska led eight hundred Cherokee braves in that war, at the 
Battle of Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa. The Creeks had about 
one thousand men when this battle commenced. Jackson had about 

Musings of a Mountaineer 329 

two thousand men, including five hundred Cherokee braves under 
Junaluska. The Creeks had built a strong breastwork of logs, 
behind which their houses were situated, and behind the houses 
were moored a large number of canoes for use in case retreat became 

Jackson sent General Coffee, with Junaluska and his braves, 
across the river, while he, with the remainder of his men, advanced 
to the front and placed his cannon on an elevation within eighty 
yards of the enemy. And then the battle was on. The Indians were 
posted on the opposite bank of the river, and while some of them 
continued to fire from that side, others swam across, captured the 
canoes of the Creeks, brought them over and carried part of the 
Cherokees back, while others swam over and attacked the Creeks 
from the rear. When more than half the Creeks lay dead upon the 
ground, the others plunged into the river and were there killed by 
the Cherokees. When the battle was over, five hundred and fifty- 
seven Creek warriors were lying dead on the field, about two hun- 
dred and fifty to three hundred were shot in the river, about twenty 
escaped, and about three hundred prisoners were taken, composed, 
for the most part, of women and children. 

Junaluska and his mountain braves have always been given full 
credit for saving the day at Horseshoe Bend. 

Junaluska was removed to the Indian Territory in 1838, but 
after the Indians whose descendants compose the present Eastern 
Band of Cherokees, were given permission by the Federal and North 
Carolina Governments to remain here permanently, Junaluska 
returned to his native Carolina Mountains. After his return he was 
heard to say: "If I had known that Jackson would drive us from 
our homes, I would have killed him that day at the Horseshoe." 
(Mooney's Myths, pages 94 to 97.) 

However, North Carolina recognized Junaluska's services. The 
Legislature, by Special Act, in 1847, conferred upon him all the 
rights and privileges of citizenship, and granted him a tract of 
land containing six hundred and forty acres, which covered the 
present town-site of Robbinsville, the county seat of Graham 
County, and includes the surrounding bottoms on Cheoah and 
Snow Bird Rivers. In his honor the creek running down by An- 
drews, in Cherokee County, was named. The mountain just to the 
north of Waynesville, was named for him. Later on, the Lake, the 
village, and the railroad station, where the Methodist Southern 

330 Random Thoughts and the 

Assembly is situated, near Waynesville, were likewise named for 
him, and several business concerns in the neighborhood have his 

Junaluska and his wife are buried on a ridge just above Robbins- 
ville. A rough granite monument marks their graves. On the monu- 
ment there is an inscription in the following words: 

"Here lie the bodies of the Cherokee Chief Junaluska, and Nicie, 
his wife. Together with his warriors, he saved the life of General 
Jackson, at the battle of Horeshoe Bend, and for his bravery and 
faithfulness, North Carolina made him a citizen and gave him land 
in Graham County. He died November 20, 1858, aged more than 
one hundred years. This monument was erected to his memory by 
the Joseph Winston Chapter, D. A. R., 1910." 

As I have said before, the Cherokee Indians had a Mythology 
well-nigh as extensive and voluminous as the mythologies of Greece 
and Rome. Their myths and legends would fill a large volume. I 
hereinafter give a few of them that especially appeal to me. 


The earth is a great island floating in a sea of water, and sus- 
pended at each of the four cardinal points by a cord hanging down 
from the sky vault, which is of solid rock. When the world grows 
old and worn out, the people will die and the cords will break and 
let the earth sink down into the ocean, and all will be water again. 
The Indians are afraid of this. 

When all was water, the animals were above in Ga-lun-ra-tu, 
beyond the arch; but it was very much crowded, and they were 
wanting more room. They wondered what was below the water, and 
at last Da-yu-ni-si, "Beaver's Child", the little water-beetle, offered 
to go and see if he could learn. It darted in every direction over the 
surface of the water, but could find no firm place to rest. Then it 
dived to the bottom and came up with some soft mud, which began 
to grow and spread upon every side until it became the island which 
we call the earth. It was afterwards fastened to the sky with four 
cords, but no one remembers who did this. 

At first the earth was flat and very soft and wet. The animals 
were anxious to get down, and sent out different birds to see if it 
was yet dry, but they found no place to alight, and came back again 
to Ga-lun-ra-tu. At last it seemed to be time, and they sent out the 
buzzard and told him to go and make ready for them. This was the 

Musings of a Mountaineer 331 

great buzzard, the father of all the buzzards we see now. He flew 
all over the earth, low down near the ground, and it was still soft. 
When he reached the Cherokee country, he was very tired, and his 
wings began to flap and strike the ground, and wherever they struck, 
there was a valley, and where they turned up again, there was a 
mountain. When the animals above saw this, they were afraid that 
the whole world would be mountains, so they called him back, and 
the Cherokee country remains full of mountains to this day. 

When the earth was dry and the animals came down, it was still 
dark, so they got the sun and set it in a track to go every day 
across the island from east to west, just overhead. It was too hot 
this way, and Tsi-ska-gili, the red crawfish, had his shell scorched 
a bright red, so that his meat was spoiled, and the Cherokees do 
not eat it. The conjurers put the sun another hand-breadth higher 
in the air, but it was still too hot. They raised it another time, and 
another, until it was seven hand-breadths high, and just under the 
sky arch. There it was right, and they left it so. Every day the sun 
goes along under this arch, and returns at night on the upper side 
to the starting point. 

There is another world under this, and it is like ours in every- 
thing — animals, plants, and people — save that the seasons are dif- 
ferent. The streams that come down from the mountains are the 
trails by which we reach this underworld, and the springs at their 
heads are the door-ways by which we enter it, but to do this one 
must go through the water and have one of the underground people 
for a guide. We know that seasons in the underworld are different 
from ours, because the water in the springs is always warmer in 
winter and cooler in summer than the outer air. 

When the animals and plants were first made — we do not know 
by whom — they were told to watch and keep awake for seven nights, 
just as young men now fast and keep awake when they pray to 
their Medicine. They tried to do this, and nearly all were awake 
through the first night, but the next night several dropped off to 
sleep, and the third night others were asleep, and then others, 
until, on the seventh night, of all the animals, only the owl, the 
panther, and one or two more were still awake. To these were given 
the power to see and go about in the dark, and to make prey of 
the birds and animals which must sleep at night. 

Of the trees, only the cedar, the pine, the spruce, the holly, and 
the laurel, were awake to the end, and to them it was given to be 

332 Random Thoughts and the 

always green, and to be greatest for medicine, but to the others it 
was said: "Because you have not endured to the end, you shall 
lose your hair every winter." 

Men came after the animals and plants. At first, there were only 
a brother and sister until he struck her with a fish and told her to 
multiply, and so it was. In seven days a child was born to her, and 
thereafter every seven days another, and they increased very fast 
until there was danger that the world could not keep them. Then 
it was made that a woman should be able to have only one child a 
year, and it has been so ever since. 


Long ago, long before the Cherokees were driven from their 
homes in 1838, the people on Valley River and Hiawassee heard 
voices of invisible spirits in the air calling and warning them of 
wars and misfortunes which the future held in store, and inviting 
them to come and live with the Nun-ne-hi, the Immortals, in their 
homes under the mountains and under the waters. For days the 
voices hung in the air, and the people listened until they heard the 
spirits say, "If you would live with us, gather every one in your 
Townhouses and fast there for seven days, and no one must raise 
a shout or warwhoop in all that time. Do this and we shall come 
and you will see us and we shall take you to live with us." 

The people were afraid of the evils that were to come, and they 
knew that the Immortals of the Mountains and the Waters were 
happy forever, so they counselled in their Townhouses and decided 
to go with them. Those of A-kis-ga-ya-yi town came together into 
their Townhouse and prayed and fasted for six days. On the seventh 
day, there was a sound from the distant mountain, and it came 
nearer and grew louder until a roar of thunder was all about the 
Townhouse and they felt the ground shake under them. Now they 
were frightened, and despite the warning, some of them screamed 
out. The Nun-ne-hi, who had already lifted up the Townhouse 
with its mound to carry it away, were startled by the cry, and let a 
part of it fall to the earth, where now we see the mound of Set-si. 
They steadied themselves again and bore the rest of the Townhouse, 
with the people in it, to the top of Tsu-da-ye-lun-yi (Lone Peak) , 
near the head of Cheowa, where we can still see it, changed long ago 
to solid rock, but the people are invisible and immortal. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 333 

The people of another Town, on Hiawassee, at the place which 
we call Du-sti-ya-lun-yi, where Shooting Creek comes in, also prayed 
and fasted, and at the end of seven days the Nun-ne-hi came and 
took them away down under the water. They are there now, and 
on a warm summer day, when the wind ripples the surface, those 
who listen well can hear them talking below. When the Cherokees 
drag the river for fish, the fish drag always stops and catches there, 
although the water is deep, and the people know it is being held 
by their kinsmen who do not want to be forgotten. 

When the Cherokees were forcibly removed to the West, one 
of the greatest regrets of those along Hiawassee and Valley Rivers 
was that they were compelled to leave behind forever their relatives 
who had gone to Nun-ne-hi. (Mooney's Myths, pages 335-336.) 


Long ago a powerful unknown tribe invaded the Cherokee coun- 
try from the southeast, killing people and destroying settlements 
wherever they went. No leader could stand against them, and in a 
little while they had wasted all the lower settlements and advanced 
into the mountains. The warriors of the old town of Nik-wa-si 
(Franklin), at the head of the Little Tennessee, gathered their 
wives and children into the Townhouse, and their scouts were 
constantly on the lookout for the presence of danger. One morning 
just before daybreak the scouts saw the enemy approachnig and 
at once gave the alarm. The Nik-wa-si men seized their arms and 
rushed out to meet the attack, and after a long, hard fight, they 
found themselves overpowered and began to retreat, when suddenly 
a stranger stood among them and shouted to the Chief to call off 
his men, and he, himself, would drive back the enemy. From the 
dress and language of the stranger the Nik-wa-si people thought 
him a Chief who had come with reenforcements from the Overhill 
settlements in the present State of Tennessee. They fell back along 
the trail, and as they came near the Townhouse, they saw a great 
company of warriors coming out from the side of the mound as 
through an open doorway. Then they knew that their friends were 
the Nun-ne-hi, the Immortals, although no one had ever heard 
before that they lived under the Nik-wa-si Mound. 

The Nun-ne-hi poured out by hundreds, armed and painted for 
the fight, and the most curious thing about it all was that they 

334 Random Thoughts and the 

became invisible as soon as they were fairly outside of the settle- 
ment, so that, although the enemy saw only the glancing arrow or 
the rushing tomahawk, and felt the stroke, he could not see who 
sent it. Before such invisible foes the invaders soon had to retreat, 
going first south along the ridge to where it joins the main ridge 
which separates the French Broad from the Tuckaseigee, and then 
turning with it to the northwest. As they retreated they tried to 
shield themselves behind rocks and trees, but the Nun-ne-hi arrows 
went around the rocks and killed them from the other side, and 
the fugitives could find no hiding place. All along the ridge they 
fell, until when they reached the head of the Tuckaseigee, not 
more than half a dozen were left alive, and in despair these sat 
down and cried out for mercy. Ever since then the Cherokees have 
called the place Day-yul-sun-yi, "Where they cried." Then the 
Nun-ne-hi chief told them they had deserved this punishment for 
attacking a peaceful tribe, and he spared their lives and told them 
to go home and take the news to their people. This was the Indian 
custom, always to spare a few to carry back the news of defeat. 
They went home toward the north, and the Nun-ne-hi went back 
to the mound at Nik-wa-si. 

And they are still there, because in the last war (Civil) , when a 
strong party of Federal Troops came to surprise a handful of 
Confederates posted there, they saw so many soldiers guarding the 
town that they were afraid, and went away without making the 
attack. (Mooney's Myths, pages 336-337.) 

This legend bears a striking resemblance to the war recorded in 
II Kings, Chapter 6. When the King of Samaria made war against 
Israel, the Prophet Elisha warned the King of Israel not to pass a 
certain place; but the warning was unheeded. Then the servant of 
Elisha looked abroad from Samaria and beheld the hosts that en- 
compassed the city, and exclaimed in fear and trembling: "Alas, 
Master, what shall we do?" And Elisha replied: "Fear not, for they 
that be with us are more than they that be with them," and his faith 
opened the eyes of the servant of the man of God, and he looked 
up again and saw that the air was filled with chariots of fire, and 
the mountains were filled with horsemen, and they compassed the 
city about as a mighty and unconquerable host. "So the bands of 
Samaria came no more into the land of Israel." 

Musings of a Mountaineer 335 


The Cherokees say that a number of beings were engaged in the 
Creation. The Sun was made first. The intention of the Creators 
was that men should live always. But the Sun, when he passed over, 
told them that there was not land enough for all, and that the peo- 
ple had better die. The dead go eastward at first, then westward to 
the Land of Twilight, which is to the west in the sky, but not 
amongst the stars. At length the daughter of the Sun was bitten 
by a snake, and died. The Sun, on his return, enquired for her 
and was told that she was dead. All possible means were resorted 
to to bring her back to life, but in vain. Being overcome in the first 
instance, the whole race was doomed to follow, not only to death, 
but to misery ever afterwards. At last the Sun consented that human 
beings might live always, and told them to take a box and go where 
the Spirit of his daughter was and bring it back to her body. Some 
young men therefore started with the box to catch the Spirit. They 
traveled west until they reached the place where the earth and the 
sky meet. There they climbed through and went up on the other 
side until they came to the house of a beneficient spirit, who gave 
them "medicine" by which they were able to enter the Spirit world, 
where at a dance, they found the Spirit of the Sun's daughter. 
When she rose to join in the dance, they seized her and placed her 
in the box and locked it. They then left the Land of Shadows and 
came back to the earth. They had been told not to open the box 
until the girl's Spirit had been brought to her body, but the young 
men, impelled by curiosity, opened it, contrary to the injunction of 
the Sun, and the Spirit escaped, and then the fate of all men was 
decided, that they must die. (Mooney's Myths, pages 252-253.) 

This myth bears a striking resemblance to the myth of Pandora. 

Grecian Mythology teaches us that Jupiter created the first 
woman. She was formed in heaven, and all the gods had contributed 
something to make her perfect, and they named her Pandora. 
Jupiter then sent her down to the earth, and provided her with a 
box into which every god had placed some blessing for the use of 
man; but Pandora, not knowing the contents of the box, and 
prompted by her curiosity, took off the lid, and all the blessings, 
with one exception, escaped. Only Hope remained; but in the 
Cherokee Myth quoted above, Hope plays no part. 

336 Random Thoughts and the 


The Indians believed that they were originally mortal in spirit 
as well as in body, but above the blue vault of heaven there wa& 
inhabited by a celestial race, a forest into which the highest moun- 
tains lifted their summits. It is a fact worth noticing that while the 
priests of the Orient described heaven as a great city with streets 
of gold and gates of pearl and precious gems, the tribes of the 
Western Continent aspired to nothing beyond the perpetual en- 
joyment of wild nature. The mediator, by whom eternal life was 
secured for the Indian, was a maiden of their own tribe. Allured 
by the haunting sound and diamond sparkle of a mountain stream, 
she wandered far up into a solitary glen, where the azalea, the 
kalmia, and the rhododrendon brilliantly embellished the deep, 
shaded slopes, and filled the air with their delicate perfume. The 
crystal stream wound its crooked way between moss-covered rocks, 
over which tall ferns bowed their graceful stems. Enchanted by the 
scene, she seated herself upon the soft moss and, overcome by the 
fatigue of the journey, was soon asleep. The dream picture of a 
fairy land was presently broken by the soft touch of a strange hand. 
The spirit of her dream occupied a place at her side, and wooing, 
won her for his bride. 

Her supposed abduction caused great excitement among her 
people, who made diligent search for her in their own village. 
Being unsuccessful, they made war upon the neighboring tribes in 
the hope of finding her place of concealment. 

Grieved because of so much bloodshed and sorrow, she besought 
the Great Chief of the Eternal Hunting Grounds to make retri- 
bution. She was accordingly appointed to call a council of the 
people of the forks of the Wayeh (Pigeon) River. She appeared 
to the Chiefs in a dream and charged them to meet the Spirits of 
the Hunting Ground with fear and reverence. 

At the hour appointed, the head men of the Cherokees assembled. 
The high Balsam peaks were shaken by thunder and aglow with 
lightning. A cloud as black as midnight settled over the valley, 
then lifted, leaving upon a large rock a cluster of strange men, 
armed and painted as for war. An enraged brother of the ab- 
ducted maiden swung his tomahawk and raised the warhoop, but 

Musings of a Mountaineer 337 

a swift thunderbolt dispatched him before the echo died in the 
hills. The Chiefs, terror-stricken, fled to their towns. 

The bride, grieved by the death of her brother, and the failure 
of the council, prepared to abandon her new home and return to 
her kindred in the valleys. To reconcile her, the promise was made 
that all brave warriors and their faithful women should, after 
death, have an eternal home in the Happy Hunting Ground. From 
that time on the Great Chief of the forest beyond the clouds became 
the guardian spirit of the Cherokees. (In the Heart of the Alle- 
ghanies, by Ziegler and Grossup, pages 22-24; Mooney's Myths, 


On top of Tsyn-e-gun-yi, the mountain now called Tennessee 
Bald, where the Haywood, Jackson, and Transylvania County 
lines come together, is to be found the "Jutaculla Old Fields", a 
bald spot of about one hundred acres, which the Indian legend 
supposes to have been cleared by JUTACULLA, the Indian Satan, 
for a farm. On the top of this mountain there is a prairie-like 
tract, almost level, reached by steep slopes covered with thickets of 
balsam and rhododrendon, which seem to garrison the reputed 
scared domain. It was understood among the Indians to be for- 
bidden territory, but a party one day permitted their curiosity to 
tempt them. They forced a way through the tangled thickets, and, 
with merriment, entered the open ground. 

Aroused from sleep, and enraged by their audacious intrusion, 
Satan, taking the form of an immense snake, assaulted the party 
and swallowed fifty of them before the thicket could be gained. 

Among the first whites who settled among the Indians, and traded 
with them, was a party of hunters who used this superstition to 
escape punishment for their reprehensible conduct. They reported 
that they were in league with this Great Spirit of Evil, and to prove 
that, they frequented this "Old Field." They described his bed, 
under a large over-hanging rock, as a model of neatness. They had 
frequently thrown into it stones and brushwood during the day, 
while the Master was out, but the place was invariably as clean 
the next morning as if it had been brushed with a bunch of feathers. 
Shining Rock, in Haywood County, is known to the Indians as 
Dat-su-na-la-gun-yi, which means, "Where the tracks are this way," 
on account of a rock at its base, toward Sanama, three miles south 

338 Random Thoughts and the 

of the trail, upon which are impressions said to be footprints made 
by the giant and his children on their way to Tsun-e-gun-yi. Within 
the mountain is also the legendary abode of invisible spirits. Some 
'distance farther west, on the north side of Caney Fork Creek, about 
ififteen miles from Sylva, in Jackson County, there is a rock known 
as "J utacu h* a Rock", on which, according to the Indian legend, are 
scratches made by the giant in jumping from his farm on the moun- 
tain to the creek below. 


Track Rock Gap is in Union County, Georgia, about five miles 
east of Blairsville, on the ridge separating Brasstown Creek from 
the waters of Nottely River. This enchanted mountain derives its 
name both from the tradition of the Indians, and from the fact 
that a great number of impressions appear in the rocks, above the 
surface of the earth, presenting the appearance of having been 
made by the feet and hands of human beings, and by the feet of 
animals and fowls. On or near the summit of the mountain, there 
are one hundred and thirty-six impressions of feet and hands 
visible in the face of the rocks. The impressions of human feet 
are from the size of four inches in length to seventeen and a half 
inches in length, and seven and three-fourths inches wide. The last 
mentioned track is much larger than the rest, and has six toes. 
The Indians believed that this was the track of the Great Warrior 
who cammanded the victorious Army of the Cherokees in a great 
battle that was fought at this place against some invading foe 
centuries before. Near the track of this great warrior is the im- 
pression of a beautifully formed female hand, which was the hand 
of the warrior's wife, according to the Indian tradition. All the 
seemingly human tracks are as if made by bare feet save one, which 
appears to have been made by a moccasin-clad foot. 

Many horse tracks are there, one only appearing to have been 
made by a shod-hoof. Some of the horse tracks are very small, 
others of ordinary size, while one measures twelve and a half inches 
in length, and nine and a half inches wide. A great many turkey 
tracks, three deer tracks, a bear's paw, and the tracks of almost 
every other animal common to the country are to be seen. 

According to the Indian legend, this mountain is the residence 
of the Great Spirit, who is always angry when any one presumes to 

Musings of a Mountaineer 339 

ascend its heights, and he never fails to visit the impious wretch 
who dares to ascend the mountain, with frightful threatenings of 
his awful indignation, by sending forth the chariot of his wrath, 
and pouring around the summit of the mountain a tremendous 
storm of thunder, lightning, and rain. 

The Indians also say that a great battle had been fought on this 
mountain many centuries ago, and that the Great Spirit, being 
angry on account of the diabolical effusion of human blood, trans- 
formed the mountain into solid stone, and, as the retreating armies 
fled, fixed, as an everlasting mark of his displeasure, in indestrutible 
substance the prints of their hands and feet, as also the imprint of 
the feet of their animal attendants. As soon as the soldiers began 
their descent of the mountain, dark and lowering clouds began to 
gather around them, and before they reached the bottom, peal 
after peal of bellowing thunder burst above them; the lightnings 
blazed in every direction, enveloping the mountain's peak in one 
broad sheet of liquid fire, while rain poured down in torrents upon 
their heads. From that day to this no other battle has been fought 
upon the Enchanted Mountain. 

Mooney, in the "Myths of the Cherokees", gives a description 
of Track Rock Gap, but has little to say about the myth in con- 
nection therewith. From other sources I have gathered the myth 
and expressed it in substance as above written. No writer has yet 
undertaken to account for the presence of the tracks here described, 
but they are there today to speak for themselves, except a few that 
have been chiseled out and carried away by thieving vandals. I 
visited the mountain and saw the tracks only a few days ago. 


A long, long time ago a terrible thing happened when the Indians 
had gathered from the Cherokee country at the time of the Green 
Corn Moon, in the Middle Towns along the Little Tennessee River,, 
to build Nik-wa-si mound higher, it being the custom to add to it 
each and every year. 

A group of happy little children were playing in the water of the 
clear little stream, when suddenly a great monster swooped down 
from the clouds on far reaching wings, and with talons bigger than 
a man's hands, bore off one of the children. Swiftly toward the 
western mountains it flew. The Indians were filled with terror by 
the Great "Hornet" that could carry off one of their children. The 

340 Random Thoughts and the 

Chiefs and young braves of all the towns gathered together to 
discuss what should be done. They decided to place watchers on 
the tops of the highest mountains, near together, to halloo to one 
another. The Cherokee word for "halloo" is Tau-keet. They gave 
the fearful bird the name of Tau-kee-ta (The Halloo Bird). Ac- 
cording to the legend, the Taukeets, or halloo-men, or sentinels, 
finally traced the monster to its hiding place or den on the steepest 
side of You-wah-chu-la-na-yeh, or Standing Indian Mountain. This 
den was not found, however, without months of toil. The Indians 
could not track the Taukeeta's flight on account of the forests on 
the mountain crests. So, with their crude stone axes, they cleared 
the timber from the tops so as to have a clear view of the Terror's 
movements. This required long and hard labor, and when the den 
was at last found among the cliffs on the perpendicular mountain 
side, it was inaccessible. The cliffs above and below the den were 
steep and slippery. Two stalwart braves climbed to the top of a 
mighty hemlock tree near the cliffs, where they could hear the 
screeching, and also the flapping wings of the young ones in their 
hiding place. Hundreds of Cherokees gathered in the deep ravine 
at the foot of the cliffs, and for days they tried to reach this den of 
demons; but their efforts were in vain. At last the Chieftains held a 
Pow-wow, and called upon their tribes to ask aid from the Great 
Spirit. For days and nights they prayed for supernatural power, and 
at last their faith was rewarded; for out of a clear sky came a bolt 
of lightning so blinding that every man fell on his face. This was 
followed by a clap of thunder that shook the great mountain. The 
rugged cliff that had stood the storms of the centuries, was rent 
asunder. Black clouds rolled across the heavens; but the terrible 
storm was over as suddenly as it had come. Among the splintered 
boulders of blue granite at the foot of the mountain was the 
monster "Hornet" and its two little ones, electrocuted by the bolt of 
lightning from heaven. 

The Cherokees spent days and nights in thankful prayer and 
praise to the Great Spirit, and received the promise that never again 
should any mountain top be covered with timber to conceal the dens 
of the Tau-keeta. 

Through this legend, Standing Indian, the highest mountain in 
the Blue Ridge Range, gets its name. The story goes that one of 
the Tau-keet men nearest the den, through fear or carelessness, 
forgot to give his signal, and at the time of "The Bolt from 

Musings of a Mountaineer 341 

Heaven", was turned to stone, and has remained standing near 
these cliffs till this good day. Through all the ages since the ele- 
ments of wind and rain and storm have worn away the arms of the 
figure, but a pillar of stone, with head unchanged, still stands, 
bearing the name as the Cherokees would say it, You-wah-chu-la- 
na-yeh, Standing Indian. (From Cherokee Indian Lore, pages 27-29, 
by Margaret R. Siler, of Franklin, North Carolina.) 


It was at one of the great gatherings at Nik-wa-si Mound, 
described in the next preceding legend, that the terrible monster 
first appeared in this part of the world, and carried off one of the 
little children. 

The Big Chief of the Tribes at that time was San-Touch-ee (the 
Panther) . He had a lovely daughter, Shalola (The Gray Squirrel) , 
who had many lovers among the young braves. Each day much 
game was laid for her at the door of her father's cabin. 

When the little child was carried off by the great Hornett, the 
Chief, San-tou-chee, offered his daughter, with the snapping black 
eyes, and the long raven-black hair, as wife to the brave who would 
find the hiding place of the "Terror" and aid in destroying it. 

Among the many young braves, there was one who towered head 
and shoulders above all the rest, and who was so swift with bow 
and arrow, that his death-dealing darts let fly — it seemed, before 
he raised the bow-strings to the level of his eyes. And always his 
arrow hit the mark. This splendid young brave, San-ta-ca-loo-gee 
(Blue Thunder), was much in favor with the beautiful Shalola; 
as were others of the young braves who came often to the cabin of 
the Big Chief Santouchee, but San-ta-ca-loo-gee desired much 
more than all the others to win the beautiful maiden. He was 
eager to undertake any perilous task to find the home of the ter- 
rible monster. So, he called together all the young braves, and told 
them that the forests would have to be removed from the tops of 
the mountains before they could see to chase the child-eating demon. 
This, after much hard labor, was accomplished, as was told in the 
preceding legend, but it was only by the aid of the Great Spirit that 
the monster and its young were slain. However, Santouchee gave 
San-ta-ca-loo-gee the credit for the idea of removing the forests, 
so that no other awful thing should ever hide among them. 

342 Random Thoughts and the 

As the blood of the Evil Thing had been spilled on Standing 
Indian, it is now covered with evergreen in place of the great forests. 
In spring time these evergreen bushes burst forth into large, lovely 
clusters of flowers, with a purplish, red hue, resembling blood — a 
symbol that the blood of no other child-devouring monster will ever 
again have to be spilled. This "purple promise" is scattered over 
many of the Carolina Mountains, always high up, as near the sky 
as things can grow, to remind us of the Great Spirit above who 
never breaks a promise. 

When the time of prayer and thanksgiving had passed, after the 
death of the Flying Terror, Chief San-tou-chee called all of his 
tribes together for the wedding of his daughter and San-ta-ca-loo- 
gee. Shalola wanted to leave the high mountain of bloodshed and 
the den of the monster for her wedding. So, she chose the high 
mountain crest in sight, just across the ridges and valleys, Wayah, 
or the mountain of the Wolf. Accordingly there they gathered, 
young and old, till the mountain top was covered with the happy 
dusky faces of those who had come to attend the wedding. 

Shalola was dressed in the finest and softest coat of fawn skin, 
rubbed to velvet texture by the old women. Around the bottom, 
just touching her knees, was a fringe of rabbit tails. On her arms 
were gleaming bracelets of wolf fangs. In her hair was a wreath of 
Indian Paint Brush, showing scarlet above her bright, black eyes. 
In her hand she held a tiny white flower that had thrown its fra- 
grance in her path as she crossed the tossing stream of Wayah 
Creek on the way up the mountain. She had stopped and searched 
for the sweet flower with its heavenly fragrance, until she found 
it hidden amidst its own close leaves, nodding at its own reflection 
in the crystal waters of the mountain stream. Its delicate odor 
whispered to her of sweet joys ahead — the love of a brave husband 
and dusky papooses in her arms. 

As soon as Shalola could slip away after the wedding feast, she 
took a deer thong from her soft moccasin and tied to a small 
huckleberry bush her little cluster of white, slender blooms, with 
a delicate line of red marking the long petals, and said: "Come 
sun and come rain; warm and wet this little flower till the seeds 
hidden deep in its heart shall ripen. Then come, gentle south wind, 
and scatter the tiny seeds over this mountain top to spread sweet- 

Musings of a Mountaineer 343 

ness and beauty forever." And so it is said by the Indians that at 
every June-time, the wishes of the Indian bride are carried out by 
the indescribable fragrance of the white azalea to celebrate the mar- 
riage of Shalola, the lovely Indian maid, and San-ta-ca-loo-gee, 
the fine Indian brave. (From Cherokee Indian Lore," by Margaret 
R. Siler.) 



Keowee Town was one of the so-called "Mother towns" of the 
Cherokees. It means in the Cherokee vernacular "the place of the 

The village of Keowee was visited by DeSoto in 1539. The 
Spaniards described it as the poorest country for corn, but it is now 
thought that the Indians concealed from them their true supply, 
for that section in South Carolina has ever been a great corn coun- 
try. This town extended from one mile above Sugar Town on the 
Cullasaja (eight or ten miles in length) to Seneca, a town built 
and occupied by a small tribe of Seneca Indians, with the permis- 
sion of the Cherokees. 

Bertram, the great botanist, wrote of Keowee: "Keowee is the 
most charming situation, and advantageous heights are formed so 
as to be impregnable, a fertile valley which at this season is enam- 
eled with the fragrant strawberries, through which a beautiful river 
meanders, surrounded by misty blue hills." 

Bertram here had reference to the Blue Ridge Mountains, which 
the Indians called Sah-ka-na-ga, "The Great Blue Hills of God." 

Fort Prince George was situated just opposite the village of 
Keowee, and it is now appropriately marked by a branch of the 
South Carolina D. A. R. 

It was from Keowee that Cateechee, the Creek maiden who had 
been sold to the Cherokees, made her famous ride to Ninety-Six 
to warn settlers of an impending raid against them. 

I have the legend of Cateechee from four different sources. 
Several years ago a man by the name of Brown from Ninety-Six, 
South Carolina, was indicted in the Superior Court of Jackson 
County for manslaughter, and I represented him in the trial that 
followed. He brought with him for character witnesses six or eight 
fine men and women from Ninety-Six. They first told me the legend 
of Cateechee and the origin of the name of tSeir town. Learning of 

344 Random Thoughts and the 

my wishes for a written record of the legend of Cateechee, a lawyer 
friend of mine at Greenville, South Sarolina, advertised in one of 
the daily papers there, and shortly thereafter I received three 
written versions of the legend. 

A Mrs. Norton, of Seneca, South Carolina, sent me a little book 
entitled "Historic Oconee", which contains one version of the leg- 
end, written by Mary Cherry Doyle of that city; my lawyer friend 
sent me another version written by Mrs. E. P. Wilson, of Easley, 
South Carolina, and another lawyer friend, of Greenville, sent me 
a third copy, written by Mr. John S. Taylor of that city, who at 
that time was President of the Historical Society of Upper South 
Carolina. From these four versions I have selected that which ap- 
peals to me most strongly, and have sought to combine them in 
one story. 

Cateechee was a Creek maiden, beautiful beyond description, who 
had been sold by a Creek tribe to a Cherokee Chief who resided at 
Keowee Town, situated twelve or fifteen miles above the present 
site of Clemson College, an institution built around the old mansion 
of John C. Calhoun, in Oconee County, South Carolina. 

The Creek name of this Indian girl was Isaqueena, which means, 
in both the Creek and Cherokee languages, "Deer Head." 

No animal was more loved and admired by the Indians than the 
deer, its grace and beauty, as well as its fleetness of foot, appealing 
greatly to their imaginative souls; and no name more charming 
could have been borne by a beautiful Indian girl than Deer Head! 

The events upon which this legend is in part based, occurred 
shortly after the establishment of the Fort, or settlement of Cam- 
bridge, in what is now Greenwood County, South Carolina. 

The settlement at Cambridge was founded about 1730, and the 
events recorded in this legend occurred between that date and 1750. 

At Cambridge lived an English trader by the name of Allen 
Francis who was also a silver-smith, and who, plying his trade 
among the Indians at Keowee town, met and loved the beautiful 
Cateechee. Before she met Allen Francis, Cateechee had known 
only the love of Indian warriors, but she yearned for love more 
tender and refined than any of her race could give her, and so, 
falling in love with Allen Francis, she thanked the Great Spirit 
for sending him to her. 

One night, a little later on, Cateechee overheard the plans and 
schemes of the head men and chiefs of the Cherokee Nation, to 

Musings of a Mountaineer 345 

make an attack on the settlers at Cambridge, which is now known 
as Ninety-Six. She realized that the life of her sweetheart, Allen 
Francis, was in grave danger; and at midnight's silent hour, she 
mounted a half-wild pony, and pushing it to its utmost speed, she 
rode without pause to Cambridge, a distance of ninety-six miles. 
Upon her arrival her pony fell dead, but she was in time to warn 
the settlers of the approaching danger, and they were enabled to 
fortify the town and to make all necessary preparations to repulse 
the attack which soon followed. 

Cateechee remained at Cambridge and she and Allen Francis 
were soon married. The Indians, too, remained. For weeks the,y 
lurked around the setlement, vowing that they would kill both 
Cateechee and her husband. Finally, Allen and Cateechee slipped 
away through the woods, and later made their home on what is now 
"Stump House Mountain", just above Walhalla, which in the 
Cherokee vernacular means, "The Garden of the Gods." There 
Francis felled four trees with his axe, and upon their stumps built 
a crude, but comfortable cabin for his bride. From that day to this 
the mountain just above Walhalla has been called The Stump 
House Moutnain. 

Here Francis and Cateechee lived in safety for a time. A child 
was born to them, and from the bounty of the streams and forest 
they had ample provision for their simple wants. But after a while 
the head men of Keowee town, learning of their presence within the 
domain of the Nation, gathered a body of warriors together and 
went to take them. Allen Francis was hunting in the forest, and 
Cateechee, with her child upon her back, fastened in his little 
blanket, was engaged in her household duties. Hearing the shrill 
whoop of the warriors as they caught sight of her little home, she 
ran to the falls of the river near her door, and leaping from their 
crest, was apparently lost on the rocks in the seething whirlpool 
below. Her pursuers approached the falls, looked down into the 
mist and spray, and feeling a certain awe in the presence of the 
water spirits, of which the Indians were always afraid, withdrew, 
certain that Cateechee and her babe had met their fate. In reality 
Cateechee had jumped only a distance of some six to ten feet, and, 
alighting safely on a projecting ledge, she withdrew behind the veil 
of overpouring water, and safely waited the departure of her cruel 
foes. Here the several versions of the legend diverge. According to 
one version, Cateechee took her husband and baby boy to her people 

346 Random Thoughts and the 

in Alabama, where her son became a noted silver-smith and was 
afterwards Secretary to Sir Alexander Gillivray; another version 
takes them to the Creek Indians in Alabama, where they lived a 
while, and then returned to their old home in South Carolina; 
while still another version says that they never did leave the Stump 
House Mountain, but reared a family there, and that their de- 
scendants still live in Oconee County. 

It is said that, on the night of Cateechee's famous ride, when 
she had traveled the distance of one mile from Keowee Town, she 
crossed a creek which she named One Mile Creek; that the next 
creek she crossed she estimated to be a distance of six miles from 
the first, and she called that "Six Mile Creek"; the next she called 
"Twelve Mile Creke", the next "Eighteen Mile Creek"; the next 
"Three and Twenty", and so on to "Ninety-Six", where Cambridge 
was situated. By actual measurement it has been ascertained that 
Cateechee's estimate between the several creeks thus named was 
fairly accurate, and the creeks and rivers are so known to this day. 
Immediately following the victory over the Indians at Cambridge, 
the name of the settlement was changed to Ninety-Six, and, ever 
since, that has been its corporate name. 

Stump House Mountain and the origin of its name have already 
been mentioned, and the falls on the Crane River, over which 
Cateechee made her daring leap, through all the years has been 
known as "Isaqueena Falls." Everywhere in Northwestern South 
Carolina you hear the legend of Cateechee and Isaqueena Falls, 
handed down by the Cherokee Indians, a legend founded largely 
on historical fact. 

Massachusetts boasts of the midnight ride of Paul Revere; North 
Carolina boasts of the perilous ride of Captain James Jack who 
carried the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence through 
Tory country to the Philadelphia Congress; but South Carolina 
boasts, with equal pride, of the night ride of Cateechee. 


The beautiful valley of Jocassee is drained by the eastern tribu- 
taries of Keowee River, known as White Water, which rises on top 
of the Blue Ridge, just above Cashiers Valley in Jackson County. 
This valley is surrounded by rugged mountains, with the foaming 
river flowing between, and is one of the most beautiful spots in 
upper South Carolina. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 347 

Here lived the Great Chief, Atta-kulla-kulla, and his comely 
daughter, Jocassee. The Oconees, or the Brown Vipers, lived on 
the west tributary of Keowee River, and the Little Eastatoees, or 
the Green Birds, lived on the east tributary, or White Water. 

A bitter difference existed between these two tribes because 
Chatuga, Chief of the larger tribe of the Oconee, had been defeated 
by Toxaway, Chief of the Eastatoees. 

There was a young warrior, a mighty hunter of the Eastatoees, 
who, despite the tribal hatred, was not afraid to venture into the 
hunting grounds of the Oconees. One day while pursuing an un- 
usually swift stag, his foot slipped, causing him to fall and break 
his leg. Nagoochee gave himself up for lost, when he heard a 
maiden singing in tones of singular sweetness, and then suddenly 
almost stumbled upon him. Her heart melted at sight of the 
suffering of the handsome warrior. "Who are you?" she timidly 
inquired. "Look", said the young warrior, throwing back the bear 
skin that covered his bosom: "Look, girl of Oconee, 'tis the totem 
of a Chief." The Green Bird (Carolina Paroquet) stamped on his 
breast proclaimed him a warrior of the Eastatoees, and therefore, 
her enemy. 

Jocassee left him, but soon returned with assistance; and on an 
improvised stretcher he was conveyed to her father's lodge. The 
old chief was kind and Jocassee nursed Nagochee tenderly, but 
was always fearful of the return of her brother Cheochee, who 
bitterly hated the Eastatoees. 

Nagoochee recovered, but was loathe to return to his tribe, for 
he was held by a stronger chain, his love for Jocassee. 

It was at the time of the New Moon, and in a little grove beside 
the river, that Nagoochee handed Jocassee a wand which she broke 
in two; and Nagoochee seized a torch which Jocassee carried, threw 
it into the river; and thus, after the forest ceremony of the Chero- 
kees, they became engaged to marry. 

One evening, the Estatoees were celebrating the return of Na- 
goochee, and also their success in killing more wolves than the 
Oconees, although the latter was much the larger tribe. Nagoochee 
was proclaimed the victor of the hunt, and thereupon Nagoochee 
took Jocassee by the hand and led her into the presence of Chief 
Maytoy, of the Oconees, and claimed her to fill the lodge of an 
Estatoee hunter. Jocassee's brother was so furius that he snatched 
her from Nagoochee, who was forced to flee for his life. Others 

348 Random Thoughts and the 

joined in, and an Estatoee brave fought with Nagoochee and was 
mortally wounded by him, and while the Estatoee brave held on to 
Nagoochee in his death struggle, Jocassee's brother came upon 
Nagoochee and killed him. When her brother returned to the camp 
with the head of her lover hanging from his belt, the heart of 
Jocassee died within her. Not a word did she speak, but she glided 
into a canoe, and when she reached the middle of the stream, with 
her eyes still on her lover's face, she slipped from the boat into the 
water. She did not rise. The maidens of the Cherokees contend, 
however, that she did not sink, but walking upon the water she 
joined Nagoochee who was beckoning to her from the farther shore. 
The beautiful little valley above described still goes by the name of 
Jocassee, "The Place of the Lost One." (See Historic Oconee, 


In a quiet sunny glade, nestling among the rugged foothills of 
the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Patrick County, Virginia, a section 
made famous by the fact that old King Powhatan once held undis- 
puted possession there, was discovered the single quarry of the far- 
famed Virginia "Fairy" or "Lucky" Stones. 

The Mineralogical name of the stone is Stanrolite, which is an 
iron-aluminum silicate, found at no other place in the world. These 
little crosses, which range in size from a half inch to one and a half 
inches, bear in unique fashion the shape of a cross, one side of which 
is always perfect, and often both sides, a marvel formed by nature's 
own hand. Many of these crosses are of the St. Andrews variety, 
and others Roman, while those most sought after are the Maltese. 

In that weird spot, the only known place in the world where these 
little gems are to be found the Fairies flourished and had their work- 
shop many centuries ago. This, it may be said by some, was a 
rather strange place for Titania, the Fairy Queen of Grecian 
theogony, to bring her Fairies. 

As to the real origin of these little crosses of stone, compara- 
tively nothing is known; even the leading scientists of the country 
have failed to throw any satisfactory light on the subject; but in 
that remote mountain section there is a beautiful legend to the 
effect that hundreds of years before King Powhatan came into 
power, long before the woods breathed the gentle spirit of the lovely 
Pocahontas, the fairies were dancing around a spring of limpid 

Musings of a Mountaineer 349 

water, playing with the naiads and wood nymphs, when an elfin 
messenger arrived from a strange city far, far away in the land of 
the Dawn, bearing the sad tidings of the death of Christ; and 
when the fairies heard the tragic story of the crucifixion, they wept. 
As their tears fell upon the earth they were crystallized into little 
pebbles, and on each pebble was formed a beautiful cross. 

When the fairies disappeared from this enchanted spot, the 
ground about the spring and the adjacent valley were strewn with 
these unique mementoes of the death of the Savior. 

Not even in the Old World, with its quaint and curious lore, is a 
more beautiful legend to be found, which is said to have been 
handed down by the Indians; and for more than a century, thou- 
sands of people have held these little crosses of stone in more or less 
superstitious appreciation, firm in the belief that they will protect 
the wearer against witchcraft, sickness, accidents, and disasters of 
every kind. Every stone is in the shape of a cross, and millions of 
people are now wearing them in various forms of jewelry. 

It is well known that Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, and Ex- 
President Woodrow Wilson, as well as some of the crowned heads 
of Europe, and many prominent officers and men in the World 
War, and numerous others, have carried one or more of these 
"Lucky Stones" tucked snugly away somewhere about their persons. 

I have had made into a stick pin one of these crosses, which was 
given to me by Mr. Taylor, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Patrick 
County, Virginia. I also have a watch-charm made of a cross, which 
was presented to me by a lawyer friend, Mr. Dallas C. Kirby, of 
Danbury, North Carolina. Whether they will bring me luck, I do 
not know. 

"Yes, give me the land of legend and lays, 
That tell of the memories of long-vanished days; 
Yes, give me a land that hath story and song, 
Enshrining the strife of the right with the wrong." 



"Our Union! By the Eternal it must and shall he 

(Jackson's toast at Calhoun's banquet. James, 

History accredits Homer with seven birth places. Fifteen dif- 
ferent places have been pointed out as the birth place of Abraham 
Linclon. Henry W. Grady had but two birth places in all, one at 
Murphy, North Carolina, and the other at Athens, Georgia. 
Andrew Jackson, the subject of this Chapter, according to the 
various contentions, was born at nine different places all at the same 

There was one claim that he was born in Ireland; another that 
he was born in England; another that he was born on the ship that 
brought his father's family to America. It has been also contended 
by others that he was born in York County. Pennsylvania, Augusta 
County, Virginia, and Berkley County, Virginia, which is now 
West Virginia. (See Marquis James' Life of Jackson, page 791.) 

All historians now agree that there is no evidence to support any 
of these claims and they likewise agree that he was born either in 
what is now Union County (formerly Mecklenburg) in North 
Carolina, or in the Lancaster District (now Lancaster County), 
South Carolina. The historians also unanimously agree that he was 
born in the Waxhaw settlement or on Waxhaw Creek; but both the 
Creek and settlement of that name extended over the line into both 

The controversy, which has persisted since Jackson's victory at 
New Orleans, will probably never be settled by any agreement of the 
two contending States. So far as I know, I have read and studied 
all the proof that has ever been brought to light on the subject. The 
legally competent evidence — the evidence that comes not only within 
the rules of law, but within the definition of history — by its over- 


whelming greater weight, will convince any unbiased mind that 
North Carolina furnished the birth place of the seventh President 
of the United States. 

The issue is narrowed down to the simple question as to whether 
the general and president was born in the George McKemey 
(usually spelled McCamie) house, which stood by actual measure- 
ment four hundred and seven yards on the North Carolina side of 
the State line, or in the James Crawford house, which stood two and 
one half miles from the McCamie house on the South Carolina side 
of the State line. 

George McCamie and James Crawford married sisters, and the 
president's mother was the sister of these two women; and there 
was another sister by the name of Mrs. Sarah Leslie, whose con- 
nection with the occasion of Andrew Jackson's birth constitutes 
unanswerable evidence as to the latter's birth place, as will hereafter 

In Colonial days a dispute had existed as to the exact location of 
the line between North and South Carolina, and the line was not 
finally established until 1771-72. Before it was established, however, 
it was thought that the James Crawford place was in North Caro- 
lina. He and many others held grants from North Carolina for 
their lands, which were really situated in South Carolina; and after 
the line was definitely established, these people cleared their titles by 
procuring grants from South Carolina. 

Now, what is the evidence supporting the South Carolina claim 
that Jackson was born within the borders of that State? 

After my careful perusal of several of the Jackson biographies, 
which purport to collect all the evidence, and after my two visits to 
both the North Carolina and South Carolina alleged sites, the fol- 
lowing seems to me to be the whole of the evidence relating to the 
South Carolina claim: 

It is said that, shortly after the Battle of New Orleans, there was 
considerable discussion in Charleston as to Jackson's birth place. 
Colonel William Richardson Davie was appealed to and he asserted: 
"He is a native of Lancaster District (now Lancaster County) in 
this State." Colonel Davie said he had known Jackson from child- 

In 1815, the Legislature of South Carolina passed a resolution 
thanking Jackson for his victory at New Orleans, and on February 

352 Random Thoughts and the 

9, 1816, Jackson wrote a letter to Governor Williams expressing 
his appreciation for the above resolution and referring to South 
Carolina as "that State which gave me birth." 

In 1817 Read and Eaton published their Life of Jackson, and 
Jackson himself confirmed their statement that his birth place was 
"about forty-five miles above Camden." 

In 1825 South Carolina published a map of the Lancaster Dis- 
trict, which contains a star designating the site of the James Craw- 
ford house, with the statement on the map: "Gen. A. Jackson's 
birth place." In 1824, Jackson, in answer to an inquiry of James 
H. Witherspoon, a leading man of the Lancaster District, said: 
"I was born in So. Carolina, as I have been told, at the plantation 
whereon James Crawford lived, about one mile from the Carolina 
road (crossing) of the Waxhaw Creek." (See James's "Andrew 
Jackson", pages 791-796.) On the monument erected by the Cataw- 
ba Chapter D. A. R., Rock Hill, South Carolina, the above-quoted 
words are chiseled, with the added statement that "Jackson said in 
his last will and testament that he was a native of South Carolina." 
I copied these words in my own hand from the monument itself, 
when I visited the spot a second time a few weeks ago. I have 
learned from several authorities that Jackson's last will declares 
that he was a native of South Carolina. At the close of his procla- 
mation to the Nullifiers of South Carolina, Jackson said: "Fellow 
citizens of my native State. (See Patron's Life of Andrew Jackson, 
Volume I, page 52.) 

The foregoing is all the evidence that I have been able to find 
from any source that supports South Carolina's claim that Jackson 
was born within her borders. The trouble with the evidence offered 
by South Carolina is that it does not prove anything. Evidence is 
worth nothing if it does not prove something. 

Evidence may be competent, and therefore admissible, but it does 
not amount to proof unless it is material and logically relevant. It 
is true that Jackson assumed that he was born in South Carolina, 
but assumption and supposition have no probative value. It is true 
that Jackson wrote James H. Witherspoon that "I was born in So. 
Carolina, as I have been told, at the plantation whereon James 
Crawford lived, about one mile from the Carolina road (crossing) 
of the Waxhaw Creek." But he does not say who told him that he 
was born there, and, therefore, there is always the possibility that 




Musings of a Mountaineer 353 

he was told by some person who did not know where he was born; 
and this possible inference becomes a probably inference when rele- 
vant evidence to the contrary is offered. 

Jackson's reference to South Carolina in his letter of thanks to 
Governor Williams, February 9, 1816, quoted above as "that State 
which gave me birth"; the statement in his last will and testament; 
and his statement to Read and Eaton that his birth place was "about 
forty-five miles above Camden" — are all in the same category. 
Jackson could not know where he was born except by what he had 
been told by others; and, in view of his failure in each of the quoted 
statements to give the source of his information, or to name his 
informant, his statements are not relevant and, therefore, do not 
prove anything. The same may be said of the assertion of Colonel 
William Richardson Davie. Jackson could have been born "about 
forty-five miles above Camden", at either the George McCamie 
home or the James Crawford place, as they are situated east and 
west of each other on opposite sides of Waxhaw Creek, and either 
place would be approximately the same distance above Camden. 

But South Carolina herself has raised a reasonable doubt with 
respect to her contention, for the reason that, until after the North 
Carolina D. A. R. had erected a monument on the site of the house 
of George McCamie on the North Carolina side of the line, South 
Carolina had contended for years that Jackson's birth place was at 
Camden instead of at the James Crawford place in the Waxhaws. 
As evidence of that contention, a marker carrying that assertion 
was maintained at Camden for many years. (See letter of Majel 
Ivey Seay, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, in State Magazine, 
issue of August 19, 1939, at page 32.) 

So the South Carolina contention must fail because there is no 
relevant evidence to support it, relevant evidence being such evi- 
dence as is so connected with or related to the main fact sought to 
be proved that it will lead an unprejudiced or unbiased mind to 
infer or to conclude that such main fact is true. 

The North Carolina testimony, on the other hand, comes clearly 
within the rules of evidence, as these rules are applied and enforced 
in our Courts of Justice. 

Parton in his three volume life of Andrew Jackson, tells us that 
his father, Andrew Jackson, Sr., with his wife and two sons, Hugh 
and Robert, with others, emigrated from the North of Ireland and 
came to the Waxhaw settlement, where he bought two hundred 

354 Random Thoughts and the 

acres of land, on which he built a cabin and started to clear a farm. 
This farm was located on what is known as Little Waxhaw Creek, 
about nine miles west of Monroe, the County seat of Union County, 
but which at the time Jackson, Senior, settled there was in Meck- 
lenburg County. 

A few weeks ago the old cabin site and the spring were pointed 
out to me by an old gentleman by the name of Howey, who owns 
and lives on half of the original two-hundred-acre tract. He re- 
members that as a young man he saw the old decaying logs that 
once formed the cabin itself. James Crawford, hereinabove men- 
tioned, who was the brother-in-law of the elder Jackson, came from 
Ireland with him. There were six sisters in Ireland by the name of 
Huchison, who married as follows: Margaret married George Mc- 
Kemey, or McCamie, who settled on Waxhaw Creek in North 
Carolina; Mary married John Leslie and settled on Camp Creek, 
South Carolina; Sarah married Samuel Leslie and settled on Wax- 
haw Creek in North Carolina; Jane married James Crawford, who 
settled on Waxhaw Creek in South Carolina; Elizabeth married 
Andrew Jackson, Sr., the father of the future president, who 
settled on Little Twelve Mile Creek in North Carolina; and Grace 
married James Crow, who settled near Landsford, South Carolina. 
Andrew Jackson, Sr., lived on his place from one to two years, and 
died in the early part of the year 1767, before Andrew Jackson, Jr., 
was born. This tract of land is about ten miles on the North Caro- 
lina side of the State line. There is a tradition, which has been 
handed down through each generation in the Waxhaw community, 
that, as they were transporting the corpse of Andrew Jackson, Sr., 
to the old Waxhaw cemetery for burial (five or six miles over on 
the South Carolina side), they found that Waxhaw Creek was so 
swollen on account of recent heavy snows they could not take the 
corpse across at the regular ford because it was being transported 
on a sled; so those conveying the sled went up the creek several 
miles to find a shallow ford. On account of this delay they did not 
reach the cemetery until after dark, when, to their amazement, they 
discovered that the corpse had fallen off the sled and was lost! 
Being unable to find it that night, the burial had to be postponed 
until the following day. After the funeral, arrangements were made 
for Mrs. Jackson and her two sons, Hugh and Robert, to live with 
her brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. James Crawford, who 
as before stated, had settled on the South Carolina side of the State 

Musings of a Mountaineer 355 

line. On their way they stopped to visit Mrs. Jackson's brother-in- 
law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. George McCamie, on the North 
Carolina side of the line. While there Mrs. Jackson became ill, and 
on March 15, 1767, gave birth to Andrew Jackson, Jr., the future 
president of the United States. 

When Andrew was about three weeks of age (some of the wit- 
nesses say six weeks) , the family went over to the James Crawford 
place, where they lived until the latter part of the Revolutionary 

I here present the evidence which supports the foregoing. In 
1858, Samuel H. Walkup, a prominent lawyer of Monroe, North 
Carolina, who was Colonel of the 48th North Carolina Regiment in 
the War between the States, and afterwards Clerk of the Superior 
Court in Union County, procured the affidavits of a large number 
of people living on the Waxhaws on both sides of the State line, 
which prove beyond question that Jackson was born at the George 
McCamie house on the North Carolina side of the line. I quote the 
substance of these affidavits. 

On August 5, 1845, the year of Jackson's death, Benjamin 
Massey signed a statement, which seems not to have been sworn to 
until September 7, 1858, in which he asserts that Mrs. Sarah Lath- 
am, first cousin of Andrew Jackson, told him in 1822 that when 
Jackson's father died his widow, with her two sons, came to the 
home of George McCamie in North Carolina, and while there 
Andrew Jackson was born in that house, and that she was present 
at his birth; that shortly thereafter Mrs. Jackson, with her three 
children, went across the line to live at the home of James Craw- 
ford. On August 22, 1845, John Cam testified that Mrs. Sarah 
Lesley, the mother of the last witness, told him that she was present 
when Jackson was born at the house of George McCamie in North 
Carolina, and that soon after his birth they moved over to James 
Crawford's place in South Carolina. On August 26, 1858, James 
Faulkner testified that he was the grand-son of Sarah Leslie, who 
was first cousin of Jackson, and that he had often heard his cousin, 
Mrs. Sarah Latham say that she went with her mother, Mrs. Sarah 
Leslie, to the home of George McCamie, and was present there 
when Jackson was born; and that the Jacksons, a little later on, 
went to South Carolina to live with James Crawford. John Latham 
testified on August 30, 1858, that he was the son of Mrs. Sarah 
Latham, and the grand-son of Mrs. Sarah Leslie; that he had heard 

356 Random Thoughts and the 

his mother say on different occasions that her mother, Mrs. Sarah 
Leslie, was a midwife, and that she went with her mother to the 
home of George McCamie in North Carolina on the night Jackson 
was born, and was present at his birth; and that shortly following 
his birth Mrs. Jackson and children went to live with James Craw- 
ford, in South Carolina. On August 31, 1858, this same John 
Latham made an additional affidavit in which he stated that he had 
heard his grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Leslie, say that she was present 
at the birth of Andrew Jackson at the home of George McCamie, 
in North Carolina. Mr. Walkup also procured separate affidavits 
from Mrs. Elizabeth McWhorter and her son George, and Mrs. 
Mary Causer, who state that they were near neighbors, and were 
present on the night of the birth of General Jackson, or were there 
on the next day, and that he was born in the George McCamie 
house in North Carolina. To the same effect are the affidavits of 
Agnes Latham, Thomas Faulkner, Samuel McWhorter, Jane Wil- 
son, John Porter, Thomas Cureton, W. J. Cureton, and Thomas 
Winchester, Sr. All these witnesses were old people at the time Mr. 
Walkup procured their affidavits, their ages ranging all the way 
from sixty to ninety years, and Mr. Walkup proves them to be 
people of most excellent character. 

Mr. Walkup had these affidavits published at the time in the 
Wadesboro Argus. In 1891 Judge R. B. Redwine of Monroe had 
them published in the University Magazine, and later they were 
published in two Charlotte papers, and also the Lancaster Ledger. 
It is said that no attempt was made to controvert the truth of the 

Just prior to the publication of his three volume Life of Andrew 
Jackson, James Parton visited the Waxhaw country. Mr. Walkup 
furnished him these affidavits, and Parton includes a few of them in 
Volume One of his work (see pages 53-57) ; but all the affidavits 
have never heretofore been published in any book. Parton says that 
he interviewed several of the witnesses himself, and was convinced 
of the truth of their statements. Mr. Parton adds this testimony 
at page 55 of Volume One: "J ames D. Craig, formerly a resident 
of Waxhaw, now of the State of Mississippi, states that he re- 
members hearing old James Faulkner say that once while sleeping 
with Andrew Jackson at the McKemey house, Andrew told him 
that he was born in that house. Mr. Craig further says that he has 
heard Mrs. Causer, a very aged lady, long a neighbor of McKemey, 

Musings of a Mountaineer 357 

say that she remembered perfectly the night of Andrew Jackson's 
birth, as she was sent for to assist, and reached the McKemey house 
before the infant was dressed. Mr. Craig also heard Charles Findly, 
deceased, say that he assisted in hauling the corpse of Andrew 
Jackson (Sr.) from his house on Twelve Mile Creek to the Wax- 
haw church-yard, and interring it there; that he brought Mrs. 
Jackson and her boys with the corpse, and, after the funeral, con- 
veyed them to the residence of George McKemey, where, soon 
after, Andrew was born." Mr. Parton then adds the following: 
"This testimony leaves no reasonable doubt that the birth took place 
at the house of McKemey. Nor is there the least difficulty in finding 
the precise spot where the house stood. The spot is as well known 
to the people of the neighborhood as the City Hall is to the inhab- 
itants of New York .... In a large field, near the edge of a 
wide, shallow ravine, on the plantation of Mr. W. J. Cureton, 
there is to be seen a great clump, or natural summer house, of 
Catawba grape vines. Some remains of old fruit trees nearby, and 
a spring a little way down the ravine, indicate that a human habi- 
tation once stood near this spot. It is a still and solitary place, away 
from the road, in a red, level region, where the young pines are in 
haste to cover the well-worn cotton fields, and man seems half 
inclined to let them do it, and move to Texas. Upon looking under 
the masses of grape vine, a heap of large stones showing traces of 
fire is discovered. These stones once formed the chimney and fire 
place of the log house wherein George McKemey lived and Andrew 
Jackson was born." 

I will here say that when the North Carolina D. A. R. erected 
a monument to mark Jackson's birth place, they used for its foun- 
dation the stones which Parton describes above, and, on the identical 
spot where the stones were lying, they placed a granite boulder 
seven feet high above the foundations. 

On the face of this rugged granite boulder is carved the replica 
of a frontier log-cabin, together with the inscription: "Here was 
born March 15, 1767, Andrew Jackson, Seventh President of the 
United States." 

On the South Carolina monument, not three miles away, there 
is this inscription: "This stone stands upon the plantation whereon 
James Crawford lived near the site of the dwelling house according 
to the Mills map of 1820." 

358 Random Thoughts and the 

I was at this place only a few weeks ago, and there is not a stone, 
or a grape vine, or a fruit tree, or anything else to indicate that a 
dwelling ever stood in that immediate neighborhood. Marquis 
James in his "Andrew Jackson" inclines to the opinion that 
Jackson was born in the Crawford house in South Carolina, be- 
cause Jackson said he was told he was born there and because he 
believed it. I will show later that these statements of Jackson do 
not constitute either history or legal evidence. But Mr. Parton 
visited the Waxhaw community on both sides of the State line, 
and talked with many of the witnesses whose affidavits had been 
furnished him by Mr. Walkup back in 1858, and the evidence 
convinced him "beyond all reasonable doubt" that North Carolina 
was Jackson's birth place. So when he comes to dedicate his book 
he does it in these words: "To North Carolina and Tennessee, 
Mother and Daughter. One gave Jackson Birth. The Other Op- 

I have at other places in these pages had occasion to quote Rid- 
path's definition of history and tradition, and I quote it here in 
order to show the weight that must be given to the evidence sup- 
porting North Carolina's claim to Jackson's birth place, and the 
lack of probative value in the evidence by which South Carolina 
seeks to establish her claim. 

In Volume I at page 131 of his great twelve Volume work, "With 
the World's People", he thus defines History and Tradition: We 
must first remember constantly the difference between history and 
tradition. The first rests, however remote the subject-matter may 
be, on the testimony of witnesses contemporary with the facts de- 
scribed; the latter reposes on the testimony of those who were 
removed in time and place, or both, from the circumstances and 
events constituting the subject-matter of the story. History tran- 
scribes directly from the eye witness, the ear-witness of the event, 
or from manuscripts and sculptures made by them; while tradition 
repeats a narrative which has been transmitted from tongue to 
tongue, transformed through all the uncertainties of memory and 
speech, and delivered to the fixedness of literary form only after 
the lapse of generations." But Mr. Ridpath at page 51 of the same 
Volume, has this further to say with respect to the value of tradi- 
tion: "If a great period of time has elapsed between the one and the 
other — (that is, between the date of the subject-matter of the story 
and the date of reducing it to writing) — if the tradition here have 

Musings of a Mountaineer 359 

been subjected to modifications, exaggerations and reflections to 
which all stories are subject so long as they dwell on the tongues 
of men, then, indeed, is tradition of small importance considered 
as material for history. But if, on the other hand, only a single 
generation or a fraction of a generation has intervened between the 
date of the event and the record which preserved the story, then 
we may allow to the tradition a weight almost equal to that of true 
historical narrative." 

According to these definitions, all of the testimony collected by 
Mr. Walkup, written and signed by the witnesses in 1858, or thir- 
teen years after Andrew Jackson's death, is genuine history. In fact, 
Mr. Walkup says that many of these affidavits were made and 
published in the United States Telegraph in 1828 and in 1832 when 
Jackson was a candidate for President; and some of them were 
again published in 1845, the year of Jackson's death. Mr. James 
makes the same statement. (See page 794 of his "Andrew Jack- 
son".) All the above mentioned evidence obtained by Mr. Walkup 
was published in the magazine section of the Monroe Journal in 
October, 1925. The Editor gave me a copy of the paper a short 
time ago, and I have it before me now. 

As I am not writing a biography but only a sketch limited to 
chapter-length, I must necessarily condense material and restrict 
details. I will only mention here that Jackson went to school as 
a boy at Waxhaw; at the age of fifteen saw some actual service in 
the Revolutionary War, with his two brothers. All of them were 
captured, and Andrew carried a scar on his face all through his 
life — the result of a wound inflicted by the sword of a British sol- 
dier whose boots he refused to shine. His two brothers died from 
exposure following an attack of measles. His mother went to 
Charleston as a nurse for American soldiers who had been wounded 
in battle. Andrew stayed at Charleston a while; attended school at 
Charlotte for a short time, taught school in Lancaster County, and 
at the age of eighteen went to Morganton and sought an arrange- 
ment with Waightsill Avery to study law under his instruction. His 
request was denied because Mr. Avery did not have sufficient room 
for his accommodation. He then went to Salisbury, spent Christmas 
of 1784 there, and studied law under Spruce McCay for a period 
of eighteen months, at the end of which time McCay was appointed 
to the Superior Court Bench. Andrew then studied for six months 
under the instruction of Colonel John Stokes, who is said to have 

360 Random Thoughts and the 

been one of the most brilliant lawyers in North Carolina, then or 

In the meantime Andrew's uncle, Hugh Jackson, died in Ireland 
and left him a legacy amounting to three or four hundred pounds 
sterling. His mother had perfected the title to the two hundred 
acres of land on Little Twelve Mile Creek, and upon the death of 
Mrs. Jackson and her two boys, Andrew inherited the land. His 
deed conveying this tract is dated 1793 (long after Jackson had 
moved to Nashville, and after his marriage) and is recorded in the 
Office of the Register of Deeds of Mecklenburg County in Deed 
Book XX at page 21. 

I shall not here relate Jackson's recorded activities during the 
time he spent in Salisbury, horse-racing, chicken-fighting, etc. Nor 
shall I spare the space to tell of his escapades with the young ladies 
of the town, with whom he seems to have been exceedingly popular, 
according to some of his biographers. I wish rather, here, to correct 
an erroneous conclusion which has been reached by several people, 
who have relied upon alleged tradition, instead of upon ascertain- 
able facts of history. The North Carolina State Magazine, in its 
issue of May 28, 1939, carries a perfect picture of the ruins of the 
old Courthouse at Rockford in Surry, as I have seen them both 
before and since the picture appeared. In the accompanying article, 
which covers a page of the Magazine, it is stated among other 
things, that "It was in this building that Andrew Jackson, Presi- 
dent of the United States, received his license to practice law . . . 
Andrew Jackson was a student at Salisbury, and it was to Rockford 
that he went to obtain his license to practice law." 

Between the first of July and the middle of December, 1939, I 
presided at the regular terms of the Superior Court of Forsyth 
County, at Winston-Salem. While in that city I read two newspaper 
accounts to the effect that some wealthy gentleman of Winston- 
Salem or of Greensboro — I do not now recall which place — had 
purchased the lot at Rockford on which the walls of the old Court- 
house still stand, with the view of restoring the building and con- 
verting it into a club house, or some place for the entertainment 
of himself and his friends. These newspaper items related that the 
main inducement which caused the gentleman to make this pur- 
chase, was the historical associations attached to the place, that 
being the old Courthouse in which Andrew Jackson stood his 
examination and obtained his license to practice law! 

Musings of a Mountaineer 361 

Marquis James, in his "Andrew Jackson", tells us that Andrew 
Jackson attended the itinerant court at Wadesboro (in Anson 
County), whereupon on September 26, 1787, Judges Samuel Ashe 
and John F. Williams, after examination, directed that "Andrew 
Jackson, a person of unblemished moral character and competent 
knowledge of the law, be admitted to practice in the said several 
Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions with all and singular the 
privileges and emoluments which appertain to Attorneys." (See 
page 37.) Mr. James copied the foregoing entry from S. G. Heis- 
kilFs "Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History", Volume I 
at page 428. So it appears that, at Wadesboro, September 26, 1787, 
Jackson stood his examination and obtained his license to practice 
law. The Clerk at Wadesboro tells me that the record above- 
quoted was destroyed by fire some years ago, but that he has been 
told by men who saw it that the record was there as quoted by 
James. It was a requirement of the law in those days that an attor- 
ney be admitted in each County in which he proposed to practice. 
Accordingly, Jackson followed the Court to Charlotte and on the 
fourth Monday in October, 1787, the following record was made: 
"At a County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions held for the 
County of Mecklenburg on the fourth Monday in October, A. D., 
1787 .... William Cupples, Andrew Jackson, and Alexander 
McGinty, Esquires, comes into Court and produces a license from 
the Hon'l. the Judges of the Superior Court of Law and Equity 
authorizing them to practice as attorney in the several County 
Courts within this State, and having taken the oath of office, 
Ordered that they be admitted accordingly." (See Mecklenburg 
County Court Minutes, 1785-1796, now in possession of North 
Carolina Historical Commission at Raleigh.) 

I next find the following record at Salisbury: "Monday, No- 
vember 5, 1787, a County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions 
begun and held at Salisbury in and for the County (Rowan), on 
the first Monday in November, of the year of our Lord one thou- 
sand, seven hundred and eighty-seven, and in the XII year of the 
Independence of said State, before the worshipful Justices of said 
County .... Tuesday November 6, 1787, Court met according 
to adjournment .... Andrew Jackson and William Cupply, 
Esquires, qualified and admitted as attorneys." 

At Dobson, in Surry County, at page 221 of the old County 
Court records, I find the following: "At a County Court of Pleas 

362 Random Thoughts and the 

and Quarter Sessions for the County of Surry at the Courthouse in 
Richmond, on the second Monday of November, 1787, in the 12th 
year of American Independence, William Cupples and Andrew 
Jackson, Esquires, produced a license from the Honorable Samuel 
Ashe and John Williams, Esquire, two of the Judges of the Superior 
Court of Law and Equity, authorizing and empowering them to 
practice as attorneys in the several County Courts of Pleas and 
Quarter Sessions within this State, with testimonials of their having 
heretofore taken the necessary oaths, and are admitted to practice 
in this Court." Richmond was the first County seat of Surry 
County; I visited the spot a few months ago. It is in the present 
County of Forsyth, one mile east of Donnaho Railroad station on 
the line running from Winston-Salem to North Wilkesboro, and 
about one and a half miles south of the Stokes County line. A very 
old colored man pointed out a depression in a field, which he said 
represented the site of the old Courthouse, some of the logs of 
which he had seen before the old building was entirely destroyed. 
I had my picture made at this point and also standing on the 
foundation stones of the double stone chimney of the old Lister 
Tavern, which Jackson is said to have left without paying his board 
bill while attending the above-mentioned term of Court. Several 
people at Winston-Salem told me six years ago that an old lady 
living near there, the daughter of the man Lister who operated 
the Tavern, still has his books containing the item charged against 
Jackson for board, with the entry, in the same hand-writing but in 
a different ink, "Paid in full January 8, 1815, by the victory of 
New Orleans." After Jesse Lister's death his daughter presented 
the bill to Jackson, while he was President, but he declined to pay 
it on the ground that he did not owe it, and affirmed that he had 
stopped at Lister's Tavern on his way to Tennessee and that Lister 
had said nothing about it to him. (See Bassett's Life of Jackson, 
page 13.) 

The late Joseph L. Seawell, in his very readable book, "Law Tales 
for Laymen," at page 228, makes the same mistake with respect to 
the board-bill incident, except that he says it occurred in Rockford, 
in Stokes County. And the book recently published by the Federal 
Works Project, "A Guide to the Old North State", at page 395, 
likewise erroneously states that the board-bill incident occurred at 

All of Jackson's biographers that I have read agree that after he 

Musings of a Mountaineer 363 

was admitted at Richmond he settled at Martinsville, the County 
seat of Guilford County, which is now remembered only in the 
Battle of Guilford Courthouse. 

The following appears on the Guilford County Court Minutes, 
1781-1788, at page 294, now in possession of the North Carolina 
Historical Commission at Raleigh: "At a County Court of Pleas 
and Quarter Sessions begun and held for the County of Guilford 
on the Third Monday in November, 1787, it being the 20th day 
.... Andrew Jackson produced a Lycence from the Judges of 
the Superior Court of Law and Equity to practice law and was 
admitted an attorney of this Court." We next find Jackson at 
Johnsonville, the first County seat of Randolph County, where the 
following record was made: "At the December Term, 1787, it 
being the 11th day of said month, Andrew Jackson, Esquire, pro- 
duced a license from the Honorable the Judges of the Superior 
Court of Law and Equity, authorizing him to practice as an 
attorney in the several County Courts, took the oath prescribed and 
proceeded to practice in said Courts." 

Accordingly at the March Term, 1788, this record was made in 
Randolph: "On motion of Andrew Jackson, Esq., Attorney for 
Absolum Tatum, it is ordered that Adam Tate, Esq., Coroner of 
Rockingham County, be fined fifty lbs. nisi for failing to return a 
writ of Fieri Facias against John May, Sheriff of said County, at 
the instance of Absolum Tatum, and that Scire Facias issue ac- 

John McNairy had been a schoolmate of Jackson at Salisbury, 
but obtained his license a few months ahead of Jackson. Four 
Counties had been established in what is now the State of Ten- 
nessee while it was still North Carolina territory. Washington 
County was the first of these Counties, and was established by 
Chapter 31, Laws of 1777. This County embraced all of the present 
State of Tennessee. Later on the Counties of Green, Davidson, and 
Sullivan were established by the North Carolina Legislature. In 
the spring of 1788 John McNairy was appointed by the North 
Carolina authorities as Judge of this Western District (called the 
Mero District) of North Carolina, which included Davidson, 
Sullivan, Green, and Washington. Being a great friend of Jackson, 
as well as his former schoolmate, McNairy intimated to Jackson 
that if he would go with him to Nashville he would appoint him 
Solicitor of this new District. 

364 Random Thoughts and the 

Sumner in his "Andrew Jackson", American Statesmen Series, 
states on page six that Jackson arrived in Tennessee in the Fall of 
1789, or the spring of 1790. In this statement Sumner is mistaken, 
as James, Parton and others say that he arrived at Jonesboro in the 
Spring of 1788. And Sumner contradicts himself, for on the same 
page he states that in May, 1788, the Court was sitting at Greene- 
ville, and that both Jackson and McNairy were then and there ad- 
mitted to practice in that Court. I searched the records at Greene- 
ville in person, but the docket of that year had been misplaced. On 
the same day, however, I was at Jonesboro, and I procured from 
the Clerk of the Court there the following: "The worshipful 
County Court met according to adjournment on the 12th day of 
May, 1788, and Andrew Jackson, Esquire, came into Court and 
produced a license as an attorney, with a certificate sufficiently 
attested of his taking the oaths necessary to said office and was 
admitted to practice as an attorney in this Court." Basset in his 
life of Andrew Jackson says that Jackson was appointed Solicitor 
of McNairy's District in 1789, and that is the year in which he 
received his first Legislative appointment; and James also says that 
Jackson received his Legislative appointment in 1789, but was 
given a temporary appointment as Solicitor by Judge McNairy in 
November, 1788. With respect to the time when McNairy and 
Jackson held their first Courts, the records disagree. Minute Book 
No. 1 in Davidson County says that they held their first Court at 
Nashville in January, 1789, but the State Records of North Caro- 
lina, Volume 22, page 637, disclose that the Court was held in 
November, 1788, and that Jackson was paid for his services as 
prosecutor, and that George Gibson was indicted and convicted, 
with Jackson prosecuting, for breaking and entering the home of 
William Barr. And yet the Minute Book also contains the fol- 
lowing: "January 12, 1789, Andrew Jackson, Esq., produced his 
license as an attorney at Law, and took the oath required by raw." 
Governor Robert L. Taylor, in a speech delivered at St. Louis, 
Missouri, on January 8, 1898, eulogizing Andrew Jackson, says 
that upon coming to Tennessee, he lived in Jonesboro for more than 
a year and practiced law there. However, we know that he attended 
the Courts at Jonesboro, as attorney, as Solicitor, as U. S. District 
Attorney, and as Judge until he finally quit the law altogether. 

So, let these discrepancies be what they may, it does appear of 
record that Jackson continued to hold the office of Solicitor, under 

Musings of a Mountaineer 365 

North Carolina authority, until the Congress accepted North Caro- 
lina's cession of the territory now embraced within the boundaries 
of the present State of Tennessee in payment of her part of the 
Revolutionary War debt. The territory of Tennessee then became 
a part of the public domain of the United States, and in 1790 
William Blount of North Carolina became its Governor. He or- 
ganized the Washington District in the East and the Mero District 
in the West and appointed John McNairy Federal Judge and 
Andrew Jackson United States District Attorney for the Mero 
District; his appointment to that office being in the following lan- 
guage: "On December 15, 1790, Andrew Jackson was retained 
during good behavior as the public prosecutor of Mero under the 
title of Attorney General." He held this office until Tennessee 
was admitted to Statehood June 1, 1796; and in the meantime in 
1792, Governor Blount appointed him Judge Advocate for the 
Davidson Regiment. 

Parton in Volume I of his Life of Jackson, at pages 135 and 136 
says that: "Two months after his arrival in the Western country 
we find him (Jackson) attending Court in Sumner County, near 
the Kentucky border, a day's ride from Nashville. The tattered 
records of Sumner County contain this entry: "January 12, 1789, 
Andrew Jackson, Esq., produced his license as an attorney-at-law 
in Court, and took the oath required by law." In the "North 
Carolina Guide to the Old North State", quoted above, at page 
395, it is stated that Rockford was the County seat of Surry from 
1790 until 1850. It is further stated that "Parts of the 16-inch brick 
walls of the Courthouse erected in the 1790's remain." We do not 
know just when in the 1790's the Courthouse was built; but even 
if it had been built in 1790, it clearly appears from the records 
quoted above that Jackson obtained his license from Judges 
Samuel Ashe and John F. Williams after examination in Wades- 
boro on September 26, 1787, and that on such license he had been 
admitted to practice in Mecklenburg, Rowan, Surry, Guilford, 
Randolph, Jonesboro, Greenville, Nashville, and in Sumner County, 
the last four Counties being in the present State of Tennessee; and 
that he had served as a North Carolina Solicitor and U. S. Attorney 
before Rockford was established as the County seat of Surry. The 
chances are that Jackson never saw the ground on which the town 
of Rockford and the old Courthouse were built, unless after 
leaving the Lister Tavern at Richmond, where he said he stopped 

366 Random Thoughts and the 

on his way to Tennessee, he may have passed this place while 
traveling over an old Indian or Buffalo trail. 

After Tennessee was admitted to Statehood, June 1, 1796, 
Jackson was elected in the fall of that year as the lone member of 
Congress from the State of Tennessee. A year later Blount, one 
of the Senators from Tennessee, was expelled from the Senate, 
and Jackson was appointed Senator in his stead. In April, 1798, 
he resigned from the Senate. In the same year he was appointed 
"Judge of the Superior Courts" of Tennessee. At that time the 
Judges of Tennessee, following the practice then prevailing in 
North Carolina, served not only as nisi prius Judges, but in con- 
ference, served also as the Appellate or Supreme Court. Jackson 
held this office until July 1, 1804, at which time the Legislature of 
Tennessee accepted his resignation. There is no record of any 
opinion written by Jackson, in his capacity as Appellate Judge, but 
it is said that on some of the old Court records in the Counties of 
East Tennessee are to be found notes of his charges to juries in the 
following language: "Gentlemen, do what is right between these 
parties. That is what the law means." 

He fought and won the Creek War. In January, 1815, the 
Victory of New Orleans was added to his laurels. In 1819, after 
he had crushed the Seminoles in Florida, that territory was pur- 
chased by the United States, and he was its first Governor for a 
period of one year. He was defeated for President in 1824, but 
elected in 1828 and again in 1832. 

The foregoing account is a very brief "bird's eye" glance at the 
origin and career of one of the greatest and most remarkable men 
ever produced in America. While he was not a native of the Caro- 
lina Mountains, he became a Carolina Mountaineer when he was 
twenty-one years of age. As Solicitor, as United States District 
Attorney, and as Judge of the Superior Courts of Tennessee he 
spent many years of his life in the mountain Counties — in a terri- 
tory that formed the Western Judicial District of North Carolina, 
until she ceded the territory to the Federal Government. In Jones- 
boro there is still standing an old building called the "Andrew 
Jackson Tavern", which is still used as a rooming house, and in it 
there is one room that is still designated as "Andrew Jackson's 
Room". It was in this old building that he made his headquarters 
when he attended the Courts as Solicitor, U. S. Attorney, and 
Judge; and it was from the portico of this old Tavern that he was 

Musings of a Mountaineer 367 

accustomed to review his troops before starting his campaigns 
against the Indians. It was here, when he was presiding Judge of 
the Superior Court, that he became the "acting Sheriff" for the 
purpose of arresting the defiant and contemptuous Russell Bean. 
There are several versions of this incident, all of which differ more 
or less, but when I last visited Jonesboro, a year or so ago, I ob- 
tained the tradition that had been reduced to writing while the 
facts were still fresh within the recollection of living men. Bean 
had made a trip to New Orleans and was gone for more than a year. 
When he returned to Jonesboro he found his wife with a young 
baby, and it appeared that, during Bean's absence, his wife had 
been seduced by a man by the name of Allen. Bean went to his 
wife's room and ruthlessly cut off both the baby's ears close to its 
head. A warrant was issued for Bean and John Whitlow was 
specially appointed and sworn to execute the warrant and after the 
arrest Bean escaped from the custody of this officer. At the suc- 
ceeding February Term of the Court, 1802, Jackson directed that 
another warrant be issued for Bean and ordered the high Sheriff 
of the County to execute the warrant instanter. In a little while the 
Sheriff came back and reported that Bean was in town but refused 
to submit to arrest. Thereupon Judge Jackson entered his order 
declaring Bean to be an outlaw, directed that another warrant at 
once issue, and that a posse be summoned to assist the Sheriff in 
making the arrest. As Jackson and the other Judges were on their 
way to the Tavern for their noon meal, they met the Sheriff and 
posse who reported that Bean had climbed up in a tree at the back 
of the Courthouse, and refused to come down and submit to the 
posse. Judge Jackson then ordered the Sheriff and posse to remain 
where they were, compelled the Sheriff to summon him (Jackson) 
as a posse to make the arrest! Judge Jackson then went to the foot 
of the tree with his pistol in his hand, ordered Bean to come down 
and submit to arrest, which Bean did so rapidly that he almost fell 
out of the tree. Judge Jackson called the Sheriff and then led Bean 
to jail and locked him up. Later one of Bean's friends asked him 
why he submitted to arrest by Jackson alone, when he refused to 
submit to the Sheriff and his posse, and Bean replied: "Because I 
saw his eyes!" 

On the 15th day of February, 1790, at a Superior Court at 
Jonesboro, while Jackson was still a North Carolina Solicitor (he 
not having been appointed U. S. District Attorney until the 15th 

368 Random Thoughts and the 

day of December, 1790), a Grand Jury found a true bill against 
John Wilson and James Fulsom for horse stealing. They were 
convicted and on the 22nd day of February, 1790, among other 
things, the Court pronounced the following judgment: "Being 
called to the Bar and asked what they had to say why sentence 
agreeable to law should not be passed upon them, say nothing. It is 
therefore ordered that the said John Wilson and James Fulsom be 
confined in the public pillory for the space of one hour, that each 
of them have both their ears nailed to the pillory, and severed 
from their heads; that they receive at the publick whipping post 
thirty-nine lashes upon their bare backs, well laid on, and that each 
of them be branded upon their right cheek with the letter H. and 
on their left cheek with the letter T. and that the Sheriff of Wash- 
ington County put this sentence into execution between the hours 
of twelve and four this afternoon." (Spelling as appears in the 
record.) This sentence was in accordance with the North Carolina 
law at that time. The records above-given were furnished me by 
Mr. Sam S. Kirkpatrick, a leading attorney of Jonesboro, who at 
the same time told me many other interesting stories about Jack- 
son's exploits at Jonesboro, too numerous to be recorded here. 

From the time of the great victory of New Orleans until the day 
of his death, he was preeminently the most popular man in the 
United States. Parton tells us that during his second term as Presi- 
dent, in a parade on one of the principal streets of New York City, 
the countless thousands with one unbroken voice demanded that 
he then and there be declared King of the United States! Parton 
also says that, after he had accumulated the material for his three 
volume Life of Jackson, if he had been asked what he had dis- 
covered respecting him he might have answered thus: "Andrew 
Jackson, I am given to understand, was a patriot and a traitor. He 
was one of the greatest of Generals, and wholly ignorant of the 
art of war. A writer, brilliant, elegant, eloquent, without being able 
to compose a correct sentence, or spell words of four syllables. 
The first of statesmen, he never devised, he never framed a measure. 
He was the most candid of men and was capable of the profoundest 
dissimulation. A most law-defying, law-abiding citizen. A stickler 
for discipline, he never hesitated to disobey a superior. A democratic 
autocrat. An urbane savage, an atrocious saint." (See Preface to 
first volume.) 




Musings of a Mountaineer 369 

Let this be as it may, he was deified by most of his countrymen 
during the greater part of his life, and as the years have come and 
gone, the memory of his great achievements for his country has 
become more firmly fixed in the hearts and minds of the American 
people. Whether he be measured as State Solicitor, who in every 
contest "put the fear of God" into every criminal by his vigorous 
prosecution; or as United States District Attorney at Gallatin 
when by thrashing a band of outlaws who refused to be tried, he 
compelled them by force to submit to the judgment of the Court; 
or as Judge at Jonesboro, where he left the Bench to arrest the 
defiant Bean, who had refused to be arrested by the Sheriff and his 
posse; or as the leader of the Tennessee volunteers whom he led 
through the dangers of the wilderness to drive the savage Indians 
to the sea; or as the great General at New Orleans when he hurled 
the British back across the ocean; or as President of the United 
States, when he defied and mastered organized wealth and stopped 
its plundering of the masses — he was always the dominant, uncon- 
querable leader, driving all opposition before him. It has been said 
of him that by the uttering of one sentence he postponed for a 
quarter of a century the War between the States: "By the Eternal, 
the Union must and shall be preserved." 

To my mind he has had but one counterpart in the history of 
American politics and statesmanship, and that is Franklin D. 

The one was born amid the direst poverty after the death of his 
father, and was reared by a widowed mother in the home of a 
relative. Losing his mother and brothers at the close of the Revo- 
lution, he was an orphan and thrown upon his own resources at the 
age of fifteen. His education consisted of only a few months in- 
struction in pioneer schools. With no one to assist him, and only the 
Star of Hope to guide him, without pause and without interruption 
he marched on to the high destiny that awaited him. The other 
was reared in the lap of luxury, with every opportunity that 
wealth could provide, every educational advantage that the colleges 
in his own and other lands could furnish. Coming from these two 
extremes of American society and American opportunity, the one 
held the highest office in the gift of the people for two terms; and 
all historians agree that he could have had a third term for the 
asking. The other, for the first time in American history has been 
elected to that high office for a third term. Both of them have been 


the greatest commoners the Nation has had. Bold, fearless, cour- 
ageous, and wise, the soul of each was ever ablaze with the desire 
to better the lot of the underprivileged. Each has been the best 
friend of the common people, the hope of "the forgotten man". 
The one was the popular idol of the common people in his day; the 
other is the popular idol of the masses now. 



And he went in unto Hagar and she conceived .... 
And the Angel of the Lord found her by a foun- 
tain of water in the Wilderness .... and Hagar 
bare a son. 

Genesis, 16: 4, 7, and 15. 

In my effort to sustain the averment that Abraham Lincoln was 
a native of the Western North Carolina Mountains, I shall argue 
the proposition under three different questions, or issues: namely, 
First, Was Abraham Lincoln, the Sixteenth President of the United 
States, of illegitimate birth? Second, Was he the son of Senator 
John C. Calhoun of South Carolina and the Nancy Hanks who 
was reared in the Carolina Mountains? and Third, Was he born 
in the Carolina Mountains? 

It shall be my purpose to argue these issues just as I would argue 
similar issues, in a civil cause in the Courthouse, under the rules of 
law applicable in such cases. 

Long after the death of his own mother, and after the death of 
Thomas Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln made the entry in his step- 
mother's Bible, that he was born February 12, 1809. And he made 
oral statements to the same effect to several of his biographers, 
namely, to one Hicks, in 1860; a similar statement to the compiler 
of "The Dictionary of Congress;" to an artist who was painting 
his portrait; and to his biographer Fell, in 1859. (Cathey's Genesis 
of Lincoln, 228-229; Herndon's Lincoln, Volume I, pages 4 and 5, 
where a picture of Bible entries appears; and Warren's Parentage 
of Lincoln, page 94.) 

It was not until long after Lincoln's death that any record evi- 
dence of the marriage of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks was 
found. Herndon and Ward H. Laman in their bigoraphies of 
Lincoln had each asserted that after the most diligent search no 
such records could be found. However, in 1878, W. F. Booker, 

372 Random Thoughts and the 

Clerk of the Court in Washington County, Kentucky, found what 
purported to be a certificate of Jesse Head, a Methodist Deacon 
or Minister, setting forth that he did perform a marriage ceremony 
for Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks on the 22nd of September, 
1806. This was the date, as certified by Mr. Booker, but it appears 
that the correct date, according to the Head certificate was June 12, 
1806. At the same time this alleged marriage certificate was found, 
there was also found in Mr. Booker's office what purported to be 
the marriage bond of Thomas Lincoln with Richard Berry as surety 
thereon. No marriage license or record thereof was found; but Jesse 
Head in the certificate herein referred to says that he performed 
the marriage ceremony "by authority of license issued by the 
Clerk's office of Washington County" (Kentucky) . (See Barton's 
"The Paternity of Abraham Lincoln", pages 325-327.) The authen- 
ticity of these records has been questioned by several authors, but 
for all the purposes of my argument I concede that the records are 
genuine, and I also concede that the marriage bond and the min- 
ister's certificate raise the inference or presumption that a license 
was issued by the proper authorities, and that the marriage was 
regular and legal. 

However, I do question, very seriously, the assertion that Lincoln 
was born February 12, 1809. His statement, though, and the rec- 
ords, give rise to the presumption that he was born in lawful wed- 
lock, and by reason of this presumption the burden of proof rests 
upon me to satisfy my readers (the jury) , by the greater weight of 
the evidence, that my contention is true. The burden of proof, that 
is, the burden of the issue, means the burden of establishing the 
case, and its rests on that party alone who has the affirmative of 
the issue, though the burden of the evidence, that is, the duty of 
proceeding to adduce evidence, may, during the trial, shift, and 
does shift, to the opposing party each time a prima facie case is 
made against him. (Speas v. Bank, 188 N. C, 530.) Prima facie 
evidence means that which is received or continues until the contrary 
is shown. It is such evidence as in judgment of law is sufficient to 
establish the affirmative of a disputed assertion, and, if not rebutted 
or disproved, remains sufficient for that purpose. (McDowell v. 
R. R., 186 N. C, 577.) 

What is meant by the greater weight of the evidence is simply 
evidence that is of greater or superior weight, or evidence that is 
more convincing, or evidence that carries greater assurance than 

Musings of a Mountaineer 373 

that which is offered in opposition thereto. In other words, what is 
meant by the greater weight of the evidence is that evidence which 
is most consistent with the truth as measured by the experience and 
judgment of men of common prudence and discretion; that which 
accords best with reason and probability, and carries conviction to 
the mind; the final test being just where the truth is found to be 
from a fair and impartial consideration of all the facts and cir- 
cumstances in the case. (See 23 C. J., 16; U. S. v. McGaskill, 200 
Federal Reporter, 336.) 

In my endeavor to find the true answer to the issues or questions 
proposed, I shall appeal both to history and tradition — to original, 
substantive evidence, and general reputation. 

At page 131 of Volume I of Ridpath's great twelve-volume work, 
"With the World's People", the author gives the definition of 
history and tradition, and the distinction between the two as fol- 
lows: "We must remember constantly the difference between 
history and tradition. The first rests, however remote the subject- 
matter may be, on the testimony of witnesses contemporary with 
the facts described; the latter reposes on the testimony of those 
who were removed in time or place, or both, from the circumstances 
and events constituting the subject-matter of the story. History 
transcribes directly from the eye-witnesses or the ear- witnesses of 
the event, or from manuscripts, and sculptures made by them; 
while tradition repeats a narrative which has been transmitted 
from tongue to tongue, transformed through all the uncertainties 
of memory, or speech, and delivered to the fixedness of literary form 
only after the lapse of generations." But the same author at page 51 
of the same volume has this further to say with respect to the value 
of tradition: "If a great period of time has elapsed between the one 
and the other — (that is, between the date of the subject-matter of 
the story and the date of reducing it to writing) — if the tradition 
have been subjected to modification, exaggeration, and reflection, 
to which all stories are subject so long as they dwell on the tongues 
of men, then, indeed, is tradition of small importance considered 
as material for history. But if, on the other hand, only a single 
generation or a fraction of a generation have intervened between 
the date of the event and the record which preservd the story, then 
we may allow to tradition a weight almost equal to that of true 
historical narrative." 

374 Random Thoughts and the 

In the following pages I will have occasion to cite several books 
and authorities, which will first be referred to by the title of the 
book and the name of the author; but in the interest of space 
further reference to such books will mention only the name of the 
author and the page of the book cited. 

Abraham Lincoln has had scores of biographers. A greater num- 
ber of books and pamphlets have been written about him than about 
any other man, living or dead. It is not my purpose here to write a 
biography, but rather to sift from the confused mass of contra- 
dictory statements of his many biographers enough of truth, when 
combined with certain facts, records, and well-founded traditions 
(which I have collected from time to time) to render possible the 
formation of a definite judgment and conclusion as to who Abra- 
ham Lincoln's parents really were, as well as to fix the place of his 

First, then, Was Abraham Lincoln of illegitimate birth? 

To the casual observer an affirmative answer to this question may 
seem impossible when it is understood that nine different men are 
said to have been the father of the martyred President, and that five 
different women by the name of Nancy Hanks are said to have been 
his mother! The difficulty does not seem to be lessened by the state- 
ment of a very able and reliable author that, at about the same time, 
there were three boys born near the same place in Kentucky, each 
by the name of Abraham Lincoln; and that the fathers of two of 
them were named Thomas Lincoln. Mrs. Carolina Hanks Hitch- 
cock does not help the situation much when she shows in her book 
"Nancy Hanks" that there were in Virginia and Kentucky ten dif- 
ferent women in the Hanks families whose first name was "Nancy". 
And Mrs. Hitchcock in that list does not include our North Caro- 
lina Nancy, or the Nancy of South Carolina, whose name and place 
in the story will later appear. The complications here detailed bring 
to my mind the story of the old-time colored preacher, who, when 
he arose in the pulpit to read his text, discovered that he had left 
his Bible at home. He assured his congregation that he would not 
ask them to wait until he could return home for his Bible, for he 
was sure he could quote his text exactly from memory. In quoting 
it however, he got his dates, events, and places somewhat confused. 
He said: "While Solomon was King, Moses and Jezabel hitch dey 
team to 'Lijah's chariot and journeyed togedder from Jezreel down 
to Jericho to hear Saint Paul preach. It wuz at de time when de 

Musings of a Mountaineer 375 

Twelve Tribes ob Israel wuz 'tending de feas' ob de unleavened 
bread dat is called de Passover. And on de third day Jezabel fell 
out de window ob de hotel; and all her flesh and all her bones wuz 
et up by de dogs. But ob de fragments dat remained dey wuz 
twelve baskets full, not countin' wimmin and chilluns'." 

If Lincoln was of illegitimate birth he was not responsible for it, 
and his illegitimacy cannot detract any lustre from his imperishable 
fame. His place in history is safe and secure. 

Alexander Hamilton is mentioned in history as an eminent 
American Statesman. He was the father of the aristocratic principle 
of government in America, and his followers from his day until 
now have been in perpetual warfare with those who adhere to the 
democratic idea in government. He was the illegitimate son of one 
James Hamilton, a Scottish trader, and a woman by the name of 
Rachel Ravine, of French-Huguenot descent, who had previously 
separated from her husband. (The New International Encyclopae- 
dia, Vol. 10, page 632.) There have been many men of prominence 
and usefulness to mankind who were of illegitimate birth. 

John Locke Scripps, of the Chicago Tribune, is said to have been 
Mr. Lincoln's first biographer. He obtained from Mr. Lincoln in 
person, the information for a campaign biography in 1860 after he 
had been nominated for the presidency. He gave to Mr. Scripps the 
facts necessary to enable him to prepare his book; and, soon after 
Mr. Lincoln's death, Mr. Scripps wrote, as follows, to William H. 
Herndon, who had commenced to gather material for his biography 
of Lincoln: "Lincoln seemed to be painfully impressed with the 
extreme poverty of his early surroundings, and the utter absence of 
all romantic and heroic elements. He communicated some facts to 
me concerning his ancestry, which he did not wish to have published, 
and which I have never spoken of or alluded to before." Mr. Hern- 
don then makes this comment: "What the facts referred to by Mr. 
Scripps were, we do not know; for he died several years ago with- 
out, so far as is known, revealing them to any one." (Herndon and 
Weik, "The Life of Lincoln"/ Volume I, pages 2 and 3.) The 
biography here referred to was written by William H. Herndon, 
who was Mr. Lincoln's law partner from 1843 until the partnership 
was dissolved in 1865 by the assassin's bullet. Mr. Herndon says 
himself that he worked for twenty years in gathering material and 
in writing the book, and was assisted during the last three years of 
his labor by Jesse W. Weik. The first edition was published in 

376 Random Thoughts and the 

1888; but, on account of certain information published in this 
edition respecting Mr. Lincoln's parentage and his illegitimate 
birth, this edition was suppressed. A revised edition, omitting this 
information, was published in 1892, and a republishing of this last 
edition in 1924, in two volumes, which I now have before me. Many 
writers say that this is the best biography that has been written of 
Mr. Lincoln, because, with Herndon, it was a labor of love; and 
all agree that, owing to his long and intimate association with Lin- 
coln, he had the best opportunity to write a reliable and authorita- 
tive biography. His preface to each of the editions is the same, and 
I quote from his preface to Volume I as follows: "If Mr. Lincoln 
is destined to fill that exalted station in history or attain that high 
rank in the estimation of the coming generations which has been 
predicted of him, it is alike just to his memory and the proper legacy 
of mankind that the whole truth concerning him should be known. 
If the story of his life is truthfully and courageously told — nothing 
colored or suppressed; nothing false either written or suggested — 
the reader will see and feel the presence of the living man .... 
If, on the other hand, the story is colored or the facts in any degree 
suppressed, the reader will not only be misled, but imposed upon 
as well .... You should not forget that there is a skeleton in 
every house .... Lincoln's character I am certain will bear close 
scrutiny. I am not afraid of you in this direction. Don't let anything 
deter you from digging to the bottom; yet don't forget that if Lin- 
coln had some faults, Washington had more — few men have less. 
In drawing the portrait tell the world what the skeleton was with 
Lincoln. What gave him that peculiar melancholy? What cancer 
had he inside? Some persons will doubtless object to the narration 
of certain facts which appear here for the first time, and which 
they contend should have been consigned to the tomb. Their pre- 
tense is that no good can come from such ghastly exposures. To 
such over-sensitive souls, if any such exist, my answer is that these 
facts are indispensable to a full knowledge of Mr. Lincoln in all 
the walks of life. In order properly to comprehend him and the 
stirring, bloody times in which he lived, and in which he played 
such an important part, we must have all the facts — we must be 
prepared to take him as he was .... Many of our great men and 
our statesmen, it is true, have been self-made, rising gradually 
through struggles to the topmost round of the ladder; but Lincoln 
rose from a lower depth than any of them. His origin was in that 

Musings of a Mountaineer 377 

unknown and sunless bog in which history never made a foot-print. 
I should be remiss in my duty if I did not throw the light on this 
part of the picture, so that the world may realize what marvelous 
contrast one phase of his life presents to another .... I have no 
theory of his life to establish or destroy. Mr. Lincoln was my 
warm, devoted friend. I always loved him, and I revere his name 
to this day. My purpose to tell the truth about him need occasion 
no apprehension; for I know that "God's naked truth", as Carlyle 
puts it, can never injure the fame of Abraham Lincoln. It will 
stand that or any other test, and at last, untarnished, will reach the 
loftiest niche in American history .... Over twenty years ago I 
began this book .... Within the past three years I have been 
assisted in the preparation of the book by Mr. Jesse W. Weik of 
Greencastle, Indiana, whose industry, patience, and literary zeal 
have not only lessened my labor, but have secured for him the ap- 
probation of Lincoln's friends and admirers. Mr. Weik has by his 
personal investigation greatly enlarged our common treasure of 
facts and information. He has for several years been indefaticable 
in exploring the course of Lincoln's life. In no particular has he 
been satisfied with anything taken at second hand. He has visited — 
as I also did in 1865 — Lincoln's birth-place in Kentucky, his early 
homes in Indiana and Illinois, and together, so to speak, he and I 
have followed our hero continuously and attentively till he left 
Springfield in 1861 to be inaugurated President. We have retained 
the original manuscripts in all cases, and they have never been 
out of our hands. In relating facts, therefore, we refer to them in 
most cases, rather than to the statements of other biographers. This 
brief preliminary statement is made so that posterity, in so far as 
posterity may be interested in the subject, may know that the vital 
matter of this narrative has been deduced directly from the con- 
sciousness, reminiscences, and collected data of 

William H. Herndon." 

Such was the excuse or apology, as the preface to a book is some- 
times called, of William H. Herndon, the life-long friend and for 
a quarter of a century the law-partner of Abraham Lincoln, with 
respect to the latter's parentage and illegitimate birth after twenty 
years of tireless investigation. 

On page 1 of Herndon's "The Life of Lincoln, Third Edition", 
he says: "Beyond the fact that he was born on the 12th day of 
February, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky, Mr. Lincoln usually 

378 Random Thoughts and the 

had but little to say of himself, the lives of his parents, or the history 
of the family before their removal to Indiana. If he mentioned the 
subject at all, it was with great reluctance and significant reserve. 
There was something about his origin he never cared to dwell upon." 
On page 3 of the same Volume Mr. Herndon also says: "On the 
subject of his ancestry and origin I only remember one time when 
Mr. Lincoln referred to it. It was about 1850, when he and I were 
driving in his one-horse buggy to Court in Menard County, Illinois. 
The suit we were going to try was one in which we were likely 
either directly or collaterally, to touch upon the subject of heredi- 
tary traits. During the ride he spoke, for the first time in my 
hearing, of his mother, dwelling on her characteristics, and mention- 
ing, or enumerating what qualities he inherited from her. He said, 
among other things, that she was the daughter of Lucy Hanks and 
a well-bred but obscure Virginia farmer or planter; and he argued 
that from this last source came his power of analysis, his logic, his 
mental activity, his ambition, and all the qualities that distinguished 
him from the other members and descendants of the Hanks family. 

"In only two instances did Mr. Lincoln over his own hand leave 
any record of his history or family descent. One of these was the 
modest bit of autobiography furnished to Jesse W. Fell, in 1859, 
in which, after stating that his parents were born in Virginia of 
'undistinguished or second families', he makes the brief mention of 
his mother, saying that she came 'of a family of the name of 
Hanks.' The other record was the register of marriages, births, and 
deaths which he made in his father's Bible." 

All the writers on Lincoln respecting this point agree that these 
Bible entries are in Lincoln's own hand-writing, and some of them 
assert that they were written at the request of his step-mother, 
Thomas Lincoln's second wife, and this is probably true, for the 
entries include the record of the death of Thomas Lincoln, and this, 
too, is in the hand-writing of Abraham Lincoln. Herndon inserts 
between pages 4 and 5 of the volume above quoted a picture of 
these Bible entries, all appearing to be in his own hand-writing; 
and he nowhere records the fact of the marriage of his own mother 
with Thomas Lincoln, but is particular to write that Thomas Lin- 
coln after the death of Abraham's mother on October 5, 1818, 
married a widow, Sarah Bush Johnson, and Herndon says this 
marriage occurred about the second day of December, 1819. 
(Herndon, Volume I, page 26.) An examination of the picture of 

Musings of a Mountaineer 379 

these Bible entries will show that at every place where discredit 
might be cast upon the President's own mother the dates have been 
defaced or destroyed, and the inevitable inference is that these 
mutilations were accomplished by friends or members of his family, 
for no other persons would be interested in concealing the true 
facts. This inference is supported by the fact that when Herndon 
visited Lincoln's step-mother in September, 1865, "she declined to 
say much in answer to my questions about Nancy Hanks, her pre- 
decessor in the Lincoln household, but spoke feelingly of the 
latter's daughter and son. (Herndon, Volume I, page 29.) 

The quotations appearing above are from Volume I, of the last 
edition of "Abraham Lincoln" by Herndon and Weik. I have not 
had the opportunity to see a copy of the first edition the one that 
was suppressed. But, in the determined effort to suppress and de- 
stroy this first edition, many volumes, of course, could not be 
found. Mr. John E. Burton, a successful financier and man of 
letters, residing at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, was one of Lincoln's 
greatest admirers. He was the owner of more than a thousand books 
written about the Martyred President. For years he delivered in 
many places in the country a most eloquent and learned lecture on 
"Abraham Lincoln." He happened to read a little volume entitled 
"The Genesis of Abraham Lincoln," written by the late Honorable 
James H. Cathey, lawyer and Legislator of Jackson County, in 
which volume Mr. Cathey published many signed statements of 
people who were well acquainted with what may be designated the 
"North Carolina Tradition of the Birth and Childhood of Abraham 
Lincoln." A correspondence between these two gentlemen followed 
and Mr. Burton sent by express to Mr. Cathey the suppressed 
edition of Herndon's "Abraham Lincoln" and also the Life of 
Lincoln by Ward H. Lamon, who had purchased Herndon's manu- 
scripts for two thousand dollars and drew upon this, as well as his 
own investigations, for the book written by him, which book was 
also suppressed. 

From this suppressed Edition Mr. Cathey, in a second Edition of 
"The Genesis of Abraham Lincoln", quotes Herndon in Volume I, 
pages 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 as follows: "His (Lincoln's) theory in 
discussing the matter of hereditary traits had been that, for certain 
reasons, illegitimate children are oftentimes sturdier and brighter 
than those born in lawful wedlock; and in his case he believed that 
his better nature and finer qualities came from this broad-minded. 

380 Random Thoughts and the 

unknown Virginian. The relation — painful as it was — called up the 
recollection of his mother, and as the buggy jolted over the road he 
added: 'God bless my mother. All that I am or ever hope to be I 
owe it to her/ and immediately lapsed into silence. Our interchange 
of ideas ceased, and we rode for sometime without exchanging a 
word. He was sad and absorbed. Burying himself in thought and 
musing no doubt over the disclosures he had made, he drew around 
him a barrier which I feared to penetrate. His words and melancholy 
tone made a deep impression on me. It was an experience I can 
never forget .... After Mr. Lincoln had obtained some prominence 
in the world, persons who knew both himself and his father were 
constantly pointed to the want of resemblance between the two. The 
old gentleman was not only deprived of energy and shiftless, and 
because of these, persons were unable to account for the source of 
the son's ambition and intellectual superiority over other men; 
hence the charge so often made in Kentucky that Mr. Lincoln was 
in reality the offspring of a Hardin or a Marshall, or that he had 
in his veins the blood of some of the noted families who held social 
and intellectual sway in the western part of the State. These serious 
hints were the outgrowth of the campaign in 1860, which was con- 
ducted with such unrelenting prejudice in Kentucky that in the 
County where Lincoln was born only six persons could be found 
who had the courage to vote for him. I remember that after his 
nomination for the presidency, Lincoln received from Kentucky 
many inquiries about his family and origin. This curiosity on the 
part of the people for one who had attained such prominence was 
perfectly natural, but it never pleased him in the least; in fact, to 
one man who was endeavoring to establish a relationship through 
the Hanks family, he simply answered: 'You are mistaken about 
my mother', without explaining the mistake or making further 
mention of the matter .... Regarding the paternity of Lincoln 
a great many surmises and a still larger amount of unwritten, or at 
least unpublished, history have drifted into the currents of western 
lore and journalism. A number of such traditions are extant in 
Kentucky and other localities. Mr. Weik has spent considerable 
time investigating the truth of a report current in Bourbon County, 
Kentucky, that Thomas Lincoln, for a consideration from one 
Abraham Inlow, a miller there, assumed the paternity of the infant 
child of a poor girl named Nancy Hanks; and after marriage re- 
moved with her to Washington or Hardin County, where the son, 

Musings of a Mountaineer 381 

whose name was Abraham, after his real, and Lincoln after his 
putative father, was born. A prominent citizen of the town of 
Mount Sterling, in that State, who was at one time Judge of the 
Court and subsequently editor of a newspaper, and who was de- 
scended from the Abraham Inlow mentioned, has written a long 
argument in support of his alleged kinship through this source to 
Mr. Lincoln. He emphasizes the striking similarity in stature, facial 
features, and length of arms, notwithstanding the well established 
fact that the first born child of the real Nancy Hanks was not a 
boy, but a girl, and that the marriage did not take place in Bour- 
bon, but in Washington County." 

Such is the evidence of William H. Herndon after twenty years 
of diligent research, touching the illegitimacy of the man who was 
his law partner for twenty-five years. Is Mr. Herndon worthy of 
belief? Horace White, noted journalist and financial expert, who 
accompanied Lincoln in his campaign against Stephen A. Douglas, 
and one-time Editor of the Chicago Tribune, wrote the introductory 
chapter of Herndon's Life of Lincoln, and he has this to say of 
Herndon's book: "The world owes more to William H. Herndon 
for this particular knowledge (Lincoln's life before he was Presi- 
dent) than to all other persons taken together. It is no exaggera- 
tion to say that his death, which took place at his farm near Spring- 
field, Illinois, March 18, 1891, removed from earth the person who, 
of all others, had most thoroughly searched the sources of Mr. 
Lincoln's biography, and had most attentively, intelligently, and 
also lovingly studied his character .... As a portraiture of the 
man Lincoln — and this is what we look for above all things in a 
biography — I venture to think that Mr. Herndon's work will never 
be surpassed." In 1910, Joseph Fort Newton, the son of a con- 
federate soldier, but who resided at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, published 
his "Lincoln and Herndon", a book of 352 pages. On page 309 he 
publishes a letter written by Herndon to this same Horace White, 
evidently in explanation of what he was proposing to include in his 
biography of Lincoln respecting his illegitimacy, from which I 
quote the following: "I have never spoken to any person, except 
yourself and General Wilson, the story of Lincoln's history. My 
motives were good in doing as I did. I wished to throw light on the 
mysterious phases of his wonderful life. I loved Lincoln, and I 
thought the reading world wished all the lights I had. Hence the 
facts told in the biography and in private letters. I may have erred 

382 Random Thoughts and the 

in the head, but my heart was right. I can tell from the ring of 
your words that friendship dictated every word of your advice, 
and I thank you." 

Mr. Newton on the same page speaks of the death of Herndon 
in these words: "So passed an ardent, impetuous man of great 
native ability, radical of mind but lovable of soul; a strong man 
whose zeal often exceeded his wisdom, but whose charity was un- 
failing; a man of noble integrity as a citizen, a lawyer and a friend; 
unwilling to compromise truth, yet eager to give every man his 
due." Newton then, on page 319 corroborates Mr. Herndon by the 
statement that Lincoln "remained all his life ignorant of his own 
pedigree, thinking that he was born out of lawful wedlock and of 
an ancestry of which he had no reason to be proud." 

Ward H. Lamon who wrote a "Life of Lincoln", based on his 
own researches and Herndon's manuscripts, sums up his evidence 
in these words: "Abraham Lincoln was of illegitimate origin and 
lived and died an infidel." But this is not all. Horton's Youth's 
History of the Great Civil War, through its author, a citizen of 
New York, in his biographical sketch of Abraham Lincoln has 
this to say: "He had the misfortune not to know who his father 
was; and his mother, alas, was a person to reflect no honor upon 
her child." Now, all the testimony quoted above is from Northern 
writers, who were naturally admirers and friends of Lincoln. We 
will now seek other fields for proof. 


1. I will now make brief mention of the nine alleged fathers 
of Abraham Lincoln, including Thomas Lincoln. He is entitled 
to first honors, because of the presumption raised by the purported 
marriage records referred to, and the fact that he and Lincoln's 
mother lived together as husband and wife from the time of their 
alleged marriage until her death in 1818. However, this presump- 
tion does not prove that Thomas Lincoln was the father of the 
great War President, as the evidence hereinafter cited will clearly 
show to any unbiased mind. 

2. Martin D. Hardin. There was a tradition in Washington 
County, Kentucky, that, while Nancy Hanks was residing in that 
County in the home of Richard Berry, Martin D. Hardin, who 
was later known as General Hardin, while on his way to attend a 
session of the Kentucky Legislature, visited Nancy at the Berry 

Musings of a Mountaineer 383 

home, which visit resulted in the birth of a boy, who was later 
called Abraham Lincoln. This tradition never had a very wide 
circulation, and first appeared in printed form in an essay written 
by Ida M. Tarbell, who subsequently published a four volume 
biography of Lincoln. I shall show, later on, that this Nancy Hanks 
was not the mother of the President. 

3. Another tradition that had some considerable circulation, was 
to the effect that Andrew, the son of an Englishman, and the 
adopted son of Chief Justice John Marshall, was the father of 

Mrs. Lucinda Joan (Rogers) Boyd in 1889, published a little 
volume entitled the "Sorrows of Nancy." She contends that Nancy 
Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln, was the illegitimate 
daughter of Lucy Hanks, and a son of the great Chief Justice, 
this son being later killed in border warfare. She further argues that 
Abraham Lincoln was the illegitimate son of this Nancy Hanks, 
and Andrew, the adopted son of the Chief Justice mentioned above. 
Mrs. Boyd says that Lincoln was born on the line between Clark 
and Bourbon Counties, Kentucky, and that, after his birth, one 
Abraham "Inlow" induced Thomas Lincoln to marry Nancy. I 
agree with Mrs. Boyd that the mother of Nancy was a Lucy Hanks, 
and that Nancy was an illegitimate; but if there was such a woman 
as the Nancy Hanks she refers to, that Nancy was not the mother 
of the President, and the President's mother was not a "common 
prostitute" as contended by Mrs. Boyd. 

4. For many years there was a tradition widely circulated in 
Northern Virginia, Mississippi, and Georgia, to the effect that 
Abraham Lincoln was the illegitimate child of Jefferson Davis's 
father and a woman by the name of Nancy Hanks residing at or 
near Culpepcr, Virginia. I have heard of this tradition from several 
sources. When I was holding the Courts at Dobson in Surry Coun- 
ty, Mr. R. A. Freeman, a prominent lawyer there, and his wife, 
gave me the version of the tradition that was long current in Vir- 
ginia. It here follows in Mr. Freeman's own words in a letter which 
I have just received from him: 

"I regret exceedingly that I have not found opportunity to 
answer your letter received sometime ago, relative to the story that 
I heard about the parentage of Abraham Lincoln, while I was 
teaching school in Culpeper County, Virginia. 

384 Random Thoughts and the 

"This story was told me by Professor J. M. Harris who owned a 
large farm near Culpeper. He was a man of great learning and wide 
information, having previously been a Professor in Furman Uni- 
versity. He was a soldier for four years in the Civil War and was 
much interested in the history and traditions of that period. He 
told me that the story had been current in Northern Virginia for 
a long time. 

"As the tradition goes, the father of Jefferson Davis was either 
a member of Congress or held some office in the Federal Govern- 
ment in Washington during the early years of the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury, and had a friend who was likewise a member of Congress or 
who held some official position in that city, and who owned a large 
plantation in Virginia just across the Potomac River. Mr. Davis 
from time to time spent the week-end in Virginia with his friend, 
and during one of his visits became acquainted with Nancy Hanks, 
the daughter of Lucy Hanks, who perhaps lived on his friend's 
plantation. Nancy was a buxom lady with attractions. A flirtation 
arose between Mr. Davis and Nancy and she became pregnant. She 
and her father and mother were members of the Broad Run Baptist 
Church near what is now New Baltimore, Virginia. This church 
expelled Nancy on account of her condition and her parents asked 
for their letters, which were granted, and tradition says they went 
west, perhaps to Kentucky. 

"Some years later I married Miss Bessie Willis of Culpeper 
County, Virginia, and repeated to her this story and she told me 
that she had heard it years before from her teacher, who for some- 
time stayed in her home, Miss Sadie Bartenstein, who now lives in 
Warrenton, Virginia. My wife has recently had a letter from Miss 
Bartenstein in which she says that there is an old lady by the name 
of Miss Jeffries, who has in her possession the records of that old 
church and that she will not let any one see or have these records, 
which were handed down to her from her father. 

"It is apparently a peculiar coincidence that Abraham Lincoln 
and Jefferson Davis were both born in the State of Kentucky about 
seven months apart; that there is a striking resemblance in some of 
the portraits of the two men; and that one was President of the 
United States and the other the President of the Confederate 
States at the same time, and as Northern gossip has it they were 
half brothers." 






Musings of a Mountaineer 385 

5. The fifth alleged father of Lincoln was George Brownfield. 
The circulation of this tradition was not so widespread, but it is 
said to have been believed by a large number of people in what was 
once Hardin, now LaRue County, Kentucky. Before removing to 
Hogenville, where Thomas Lincoln's family last lived before they 
moved to Indiana, they were tenants in the year 1808, on the farm 
of George Brownfield nearby their future home. Because George 
Brownfield had a son, David, who when grown, was said to be the 
living image of Abraham Lincoln when he grew to manhood, this 
tradition gained considerable circulation in that immediate com- 
munity, and still has some advocates. However, there were never 
any facts produced to support the tradition. 

6. One among the widespread traditions is that Abraham Lin- 
coln was the illegitimate son of a poor girl by the name of Nancy 
Hanks, and a miller by the name of Abraham "Inlow", who lived 
on the border between Clark and Bourbon Counties, Kentucky. 
According to this tradition the little son was old enough to run 
around when Inlow paid Thomas Lincoln five hundred dollars and 
a wagon and team to induce him to take Nancy and the child away 
from that section, and that they left with the child sitting between 
them on the wagon seat. The child had already been named Abra- 
ham for this alleged father. This tradition was given the widest 
circulation by Belvard January Peters, who was one of the ablest 
lawyers in Kentucky in his day, and was one time Chief Justice 
of the Kentucky Supreme Court. He wrote the story for publica- 
tion in certain local papers in Kentucky. The high reputation of 
Judge Peters, both for his ability and veracity, and his belief in the 
truth of the tradition (before his death he made affidavit as to his 
belief) will account in large measure for the belief of others in this 
story. This tradition, like the previous ones herein mentioned is fa- 
tally lacking in facts to support it. It is my belief that this tradition 
grows out of the North Carolina Enloe tradition hereinafter re- 
ferred to in greater detail. (See Herndon's account of this tradition 
on pages 1 to 7, suppressed edition.) This same Judge Peters, in his 
affidavit above referred to, states that Jesse Head who certified that 
he married Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, later admitted 
that at that time Nancy had a little boy named Abraham, who was 
large enough to be running around when the marriage ceremony 
was performed. 

386 Random Thoughts and the 

7. There is still another tradition that Abraham "Enlow" of 
Hardin County, Kentucky, was the father of Abraham Lincoln. 
Ward H. Lamon thought well of this tradition, and in his "Life 
of Lincoln", which was afterwards suppressed, he tells of a terrible 
fight had by this Abraham Enlow and Thomas Lincoln, which was 
supposed to be on account of Lincoln's wife, Nancy. Lamon says 
that in this fight Lincoln bit off Enlow's nose, and that in conse- 
quence of this fight and scandal the Lincolns moved to Indiana. 
(See Lamon's Life of Lincoln, page 16.) This tradition was explod- 
ed when it was shown that according to Bible records and other 
proof this Abraham Enlow was only fifteen years of age at the time 
in question. I think that this tradition grows out of the North 
Carolina Abraham Enloe tradition also, because it is a fact sup- 
ported by convincing positive evidence that our Enloe had his nose 
bitten off by Thomas Lincoln in a desperate fight which they had. 
The evidence in relation to this fight will appear in the next suc- 
ceeding chapter. 

8. Mr. Cathey, in his "Genesis of Lincoln", on pages 53 to 57, 
sets forth a statement given him by Mr. Joseph Collins, of Hay- 
wood County, North Carolina. I knew Mr. Collins for many years 
as a man of the highest character and unquestioned veracity. Mr. 
Collins there says that the first he ever heard about Lincoln's origin 
was when he was in Texas in 1867, where he became acquainted 
with Judge Gilmore, an old gentleman living three miles from 
Fort Worth. Judge Gilmore told him that he knew Nancy Hanks 
before she was married, and that she then had a child she called 
Abraham. While the child was yet small she married a man by the 
name of Lincoln, a whiskey distiller. After Nancy Hanks was 
married to the man Lincoln the boy was known by the name of 
Abraham Lincoln. He said that Abraham's mother, when the boy 
-was about eight years old, died. Judge Gilmore said he himself was 
five or six years older than Abraham Lincoln; that he knew him 
well and attended the same school with him. He said he knew 
Lincoln until he was almost grown, when he, Gilmore, moved to 
Texas where he was elected Judge of the County Court. Mr. Collins 
also wrote Mr. Cathey that many years ago he met an old man in 
Buncombe County by the name of Phillis Wells, who was then 
ninety years old; that as a young man Wells traveled over the 
mountain Counties buying ginseng, feathers, and furs and selling 
tin-ware, and often spent the night in the home of Abraham Enloe 

Musings of a Mountaineer 387 

in what is now Swain County; that on one of these occasions Enloe 
told him he was in trouble with his wife about a girl by the name 
of Nancy Hanks who was living there. Wells said he saw Nancy 
Hanks, and she was a good-looking girl and seemed smart for busi- 
ness. Wells said that when he came to Enloe's on his next trip, he 
had sent Nancy Hanks to Jonathan's Creek (in Haywood Coun- 
ty) . That later a child was born to her and she named him Abra- 
ham. He said that Enloe then hired a man to take her out of the 
country in order to restore peace in his home. 

Captain W. A. Enloe of Jackson County wrote Mr. Cathey that 
during the war he came home from Raleigh to recruit his company, 
and that, as he was having dinner at a hotel in Asheville, he heard 
a number of army officers discussing Abraham Lincoln, and they 
said his correct name was Enloe. Captain Enloe said that, after the 
war, he was stationed in Tennessee and was there handed a paper 
with a lengthy sketch of Abraham Lincoln's early life in Kentucky, 
alleging that his father's name was Enloe, and that Lincoln was 
born in Western North Carolina. (Cathey, 59 to 61.) 

On September 17, 1893, the Charlotte Observer carried an article 
signed "Student of History", in which it was state, among many 
other things, that a Dr. A. W. Miller in Jackson County told the 
writer of the article the story of Nancy Hanks and her boy Abra- 
ham; and that his father's name was Abraham Enloe and his mother 
was Nancy Hanks, and that Lincoln was born in the house in Swain 
County which was then occupied by Wesley Enloe, the son of Abra- 
ham Enloe. This same writer called at the home of Col. Allen T. 
Davidson, of Asheville, the father of the late Attorney General, 
Theodore Davidson, and Colonel Davidson confirmed this story, 
he having married into the Enloe family himself and as an attorney, 
settled the estate of Abraham Enloe. (Cathey, pages 63 to 74.) 
Colonel Davidson also told this writer that there was a lady then 
living who as a girl was visiting at Abraham Enloe's, when she was 
a young girl. She said that Nancy Enloe Thompson (who had 
married against her father's wishes) had become reconciled with 
her people and was at home on a visit. They were to start back to 
Kentucky in a few days and this young lady heard a neighbor say: 
"I am glad Nancy Hanks and her boy are going to Kentucky with 
Mrs. Thompson. Mrs. Enloe will be happy again." 

Captain James W. Terrell of Jackson County was born in Ruth- 
erford County in 1829, but lived most of his long life in Jackson 

388 Random Thoughts and the 

County and died there. When I was Clerk of the Court of Jackson 
County, Captain Terrell, who lived in Webster, was my deputy for 
a while. I knew him to be a most honorable and truthful man. He 
gave Mr. Cathey a signed statement for his book, and after speak- 
ing of the general report that Nancy Hanks was the mother of an 
illegitimate child named Abraham, before going from Swain Coun- 
ty to Kentucky, stated that many years before, in a conversation 
with Dr. Edgerton, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, who was 
the brother of Mrs. Abraham Enloe, Dr. Edgerton told him that 
in the early fifties two young men of Rutherford County, North 
Carolina, moved to Illinois and settled near Springfield. One of 
them, whose name was Davis became intimately acquainted with 
Mr. Lincoln. In the fall of 1860, just before the presidential 
election, these young men made a visit back to Rutherford and 
spent a night with Dr. Edgerton. They were discussing the presi- 
dential candidates, and Mr. Davis told Dr. Edgerton that, in a 
private and confidential talk with Mr. Lincoln, the latter told him 
that he was of southern extraction; that his right name was, or 
ought to have been, Enloe, but that he had always gone by the 
name of his step-father. (Cathey, pages 46 to 51.) The newspaper 
article in the Charlotte Observer quoted above repeats this same 
incident and conversation. (Cathey, page 66.) 

Mr. Cathey prints a letter from C. A. Ragland, Esquire, of 
Stockton, Missouri, who states that Col. T. G. C. Davis, of St. 
Louis, Missouri, who was born in Kentucky, but lived for many 
years in Illinois, told him that he was intimately acquainted with 
Mr. Lincoln, having been associated with him, as well as against 
him in law cases before the Supreme Court of Illinois; that they 
as members of the Committee drafted most of the Constitution of 
Illinois, in 1844 or 1845. He said that he knew the mother of 
Abraham Lincoln; that he was raised in the same neighborhood in 
Kentucky, and that it was generally understood without question, 
in that neighborhood, that Lincoln, the man who married the 
President's mother, was not the father of the President. (Cathey, 
pages 77 and 78.) Mr. Cathey quotes a dozen other letters from 
old men of Jackson and Swain Counties, together with a letter 
from S. E. Kennedy, of Davis, Indian Territory, under date of 
July 7, 1898; a letter from James D. Enloe, of Cedartown, Geor- 
gia; a letter from Dr. Thomas Hammond, of Wildwood, Florida; 
a letter from Nat R. Anderson, of Rolling Fork, Mississippi; and 

Musings of a Mountaineer 389 

a letter from G. J. Davie, of Nevada, Texas, all of whom, in 
unmistakable terms, confirm and corroborate the foregoing general 
reputation and tradition. The lack of space forbids me to quote 
from all of them, but reference will be made to many of them 
hereafter in the discussion of the second issue involved. 

In 1927 Dr. J. C. Coggins, Ph.D., LL.D., a scholarly gentleman 
of Rutherfordton, and Representative of Rutherford County, in 
the Legislature of 1917-18, published a book entitled, "Abraham 
Lincoln, a North Carolinian." 

The main propositions sought to be proved by Dr. Coggins are 
that Nancy Hanks was reared in the family of Abraham Enloe 
in Rutherford County; that she went with him and his family 
when they moved to what is now Swain; that while she was about 
to become the mother of a child by Abraham Enloe he had her sent 
back to his old homestead in Rutherford County, and there she 
gave birth to a boy child whom she named Abraham; and that 
later she carried her child to Kentucky where she married Thomas 
Lincoln. Dr. Coggins presents his proof through the affidavits of 
some ten or twelve witnesses who testify to the general reputation 
and tradition respecting Lincoln's birth, and several of them testify 
that certain old people who were living at the time told them that 
they had seen Abraham Lincoln when he was a small child at this 
old home of Enloe. I here quote from a few of them. Bracton 
Smart testified that he was the great grandson of Nancy Holly- 
field, who was popularly known as "Granny". He says that she 
lived to be a hundred and seven years old, having been born in 
1794 and died in 1900. He states that he had often heard her say 
that during her girlhood days she was intimately associated with a 
girl by the name of Nancy Hanks, who lived at the home of 
Abraham Enloe on Puzzle Creek in Rutherford County. She made 
the statement many times that she had seen Nancy and her child at 
the old Enloe home place, and that it was the belief of ail the old 
people that the child was born there, and later taken to some place 
in Kentucky. A Methodist Minister, by the name of C. R. Lee 
about the year 1898 wrote a story, based in part on this old lady's 
statement. (Coggins, page 44.) 

J. N. Jones testified that he was sixty years old when he made 
his affidavit in 1926. He says that he lived near the old lady, 
"Granny" (Nancy) Hollyfield, and talked with her frequently. 
He says she lived to be over a hundred years old, and he often 

390 Random Thoughts and the 

heard her say that she had held Abraham Lincoln in her arms 
when he was a baby; that he was born at the old Abraham Enloe 
place on Puzzle Creek in Rutherford County, North Carolina. 
(Coggins, pages 49 and 50.) 

A. DeK. Wallace at the age of seventy-eight years testified that 
he knew personally the old people who saw the girl, Nancy Hanks, 
before and after her child was born. He says the old people told 
him that Nancy Hanks was placed in the home of Abraham Enloe 
when she was a small girl and grew to womanhood in this Enloe 
family. When she was about grown she became the mother of a 
child and Abraham Enloe was regarded as its father, and the child 
was called Abraham for him. (Coggins, 64-65.) Mrs. Martha 
Keeter at the age of seventy-eight years testified that she had heard 
the story of Nancy Hanks and her child Abraham from the old 
people who lived at the time in Rutherford County. She said her 
father knew all the old associates of Nancy Hanks, and he said 
that Nancy was reared in the family of Abraham Enloe, and that 
Abraham Lincoln was born in Rutherford County. (Coggins, 
67-68.) George DePriest, of Shelby, North Carolina, when he was 
seventy-two years of age made affidavit in part, as follows: That 
when he lived in Rutherford County he was well acquainted with 
an old lady by the name of "Polly" Price, popularly called "Aunt 
Polly", who lived to be a hundred years old. He said he often heard 
Aunt Polly talk about the girl, Nancy Hanks. She said she was 
intimately associated with Nancy Hanks in her girlhood, often went 
to quiltings and dances with her, and that Nancy came to her home 
to quilt and dance. She said that she often visited Nancy when 
she lived on Puzzle Creek in Abraham Enloe's home. She saw her 
at the old Enloe home after her child was born, and also at the old 
Concord church where she took the baby from Nancy and held him 
in her arms. (Coggins, 45-46.) 

Honorable C. O. Ridings, Solicitor of the Eighteenth Judicial 
District of North Carolina, is the grandson of Honorable Colum- 
bus Tanner, who for more than eighteen years was Clerk and As- 
sistant Clerk of the Superior Court of Rutherford County. He 
died in 1925 at the age of eighty-three years. He was acquainted 
with the old people who were conversant with the facts in respect 
to Nancy Hanks. Mr. Tanner spent considerable time collecting 
the facts and writing a history of Nancy Hanks. The writing has 
now been lost or misplaced, but Mr. Ridings read it as many as 

Musings of a Mountaineer 391 

three times and was thoroughly familiar with it. He says his grand- 
father asserted in this writing that Michael Tanner of Virginia, 
was the father of Nancy Hanks by Lucy Hanks. In this writing 
Columbus Tanner stated that Nancy Hanks stayed at Abraham 
Enloe's home on Puzzle Creek, and that the child later known as 
Abraham Lincoln was born there; that Michael Tanner took Nancy 
on his horse behind him and carried her away with the baby in his 
arms, and that Abraham Enloe was believed to be the father of the 
child. (Coggins, 47-48.) 

Dr. Coggins publishes his own affidavit in which he sets forth a 
statement made to him by Berry H. Melton, a very old man, living 
in Buncombe County, whose mother was the sister of Abraham 
Enloe. This old gentleman was nearly ninety years old when he 
made his statement to Dr. Coggins, and he said he knew Nancy 
Hanks when she was a girl; that she came to live with his uncle, 
Abraham Enloe, when she was eight or ten years old, and that she 
continued to live there till she was grown. He said he visited his 
uncle many times while Nancy was there. He also said that Abra- 
ham Enloe, with several other families, moved west of the Blue 
Ridge, and that later Nancy gave birth to a boy named Abraham, 
and that still later they were sent across the line into Kentucky 
where Enloe's daughter lived. Further quotations from this affidavit 
will appear farther on. (Coggins, 147-160.) 

Dr. Coggins' book contains several other affidavits, together 
with most of the evidence and statements in Cathey's "The Genesis 
of Lincoln", and also a number of newspaper articles a generation 
or more old, all of which corroborate the evidence collected by 
Cathey and Coggins. 

9. In 1911, Mr. D. J. Knotts, of Swansea, South Carolina, 
published in the Columbia State a series of four articles, in which 
he presented a great array of evidence which I think will convince 
any unbiased mind that Senator John C. Calhoun was the father, 
and a young woman by the name of Nancy Hanks, who one time 
resided in what is now Anderson County, South Carolina, was the 
mother of a boy child who was afterwards known to the world as 
Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States. These articles 
may be purchased from the Columbia State by paying the prevail- 
ing stenographic price for copying them. During the year 1919, in 
an extensive correspondence with Dr. W. E. Barton, author of "The 
Paternity of Abraham Lincoln", Mr. Knotts wrote a large number 

392 Random Thoughts and the 

of letters which are printed in full in Dr. Barton's book, and which 
contain more evidence perhaps, than the articles in the Columbia 
State. This evidence will be discussed in detail in the next succeed- 
ing chapter. 

I agree fully with Mr. Knotts that John C. Calhoun was the 
father of Lincoln, and that his mother's name was Nancy Hanks; 
but Mr. Knotts was mistaken in the identity of the Nancy Hanks 
whom he claims to have been the mother of the President, as will 
presently appear. 

Mr. Knotts had an extended correspondence with a lady residing 
in California — a Mrs. Mahon, the daughter of the John Hanks 
who was associated with Abraham Lincoln in the rail-splitting 
business in Illinois. This John Hanks was the son of William 
Hanks and grandson of Joseph Hanks, who was the father of 
Lucy Hanks, President Lincoln's grand-mother. She was therefore 
the second cousin of Nancy Hanks, the President's mother. Mrs. 
Mahon wrote Mr. Knotts, among other things, that, "Thomas and 
Nancy (Lincoln) had one child, Sarah, and their friends after 
Nancy's death tried to fix the records to date back the marriage, 
and failed signally." Mrs. Mahon's letters to Mr. Knotts were 
furnished Dr. Barton, and several of them appear at pages 404 
et seq., in his book, "The Paternity of Abraham Lincoln." 

Mr. John E. Burton, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to whom ref- 
erence has already been made, wrote Dr. Barton, among other 
things, the following: "I believe that Abraham Lincoln was the first 
child born to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks. I do not believe 
there was a girl Nancy or Sarah born to them before Abraham was 
born. Why I so believe is that Abraham's second mother, or step- 
mother, was named Sarah Bush .... This woman had a daughter 
named Sarah. She and Abraham grew up as brother and sister. 
That in my opinion is the cause of the mix-up. In my opinion this 
story (of Lincoln's illegitimacy) is true. Lincoln himself knew the 
truth about it, and that is what made him habitually sad. The dark 
and oppressive shadow which ever hung over him made him gloomy, 
and at times almost drove him to despair. (Barton, 187.) 

Mr. Herndon refers to three witnesses — John B. Helm, Austin 
Gallaher, and John Duncan, of Washington County, Kentucky, 
who state that they knew Abraham Lincoln when he was a small 
boy, and before any author contends that Thomas and Nancy 
were married. (Herndon, 14-15.) 

Musings of a Mountaineer 393 

In support of the foregoing voluminous evidence, I offer another 
circumstance which is entitled to be seriously considered. In 1896, 
Ida M. Tarbell wrote an article on "The Early Life of Abraham 
Lincoln", which was published in McClure's Magazine. In this 
article she quotes in full an affidavit of Dr. C. C. Graham, then of 
Louisville, Kentucky, but who formerly resided at Harodsburg, 
Kentucky. The affidavit, after setting forth, among other things, 
that he and one other man were the only people living who wece 
present at the marriage of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, had 
this to say: "Some said that she (Nancy, Thomas Lincoln's first 
wife) died of heart trouble, from slanders about her and old Abe 
Enloe, called "Inlow", while her Abe, named for the pioneer Abra- 
ham Linkhorn, was still living." Five full pages of this article were 
devoted to evidence to prove that Dr. Graham was worthy of belief. 
This affidavit was made on March 20, 1882, seventy-six years after 
the wedding is said to have occurred, and when Dr. Garaham was 
in his one hundredth year. (Warren, 70.) Shortly thereafter Ida 
M. Tarbell published her four-volume edition of "The Life of 
Lincoln", and only a few excerpts from Dr. Graham's affidavit 
are included, and the preceding statement in reference to the 
"scandal" about Nancy Hanks and Abe Enloe is omitted alto- 
gether. Warren on page 70 of his "Parentage and Childhood of 
Lincoln", has what purports to be a copy of the Graham affidavit, 
and the same omission occurs there. 

Now, have I satisfied the burden of proof with respect to the 
first issue, which I assumed when I admitted the presumption of 
Lincoln's legitimacy? Have I established the affirmative of the issue 
by the greater weight of the evidence? Let us see. There is no evi- 
dence to be found in any book or pamphlet written about Lincoln 
that any contemporary record was ever made of the date of his 
birth. There is no evidence that Thomas Lincoln, his putative 
father, or that Nancy Hanks, his mother, ever told Abraham that 
he was born February 12, 1809. The only evidence we have that 
such was the date of his birth is the entry made in his step-mother's 
Bible, and his statements to his biographers mentioned above. 
Lincoln furnished no evidence as to where or how he obtained his 
information; but as he was making the entries in his step-mother's 
Bible, the presumption is that he got his information from her. But 
Lincoln gave his intimate friend and law partner of twenty-five 
years association to understand that he was an illegitimate. He 

394 Random Thoughts and the 

made the same statement to Mr. Davis in 1860, who, in turn told 
Dr. Edgerton of Hendersonville. Mr. Newton says that Lincoln 
remained all his life ignorant of his own pedigree, thinking that 
he was born out of lawful wedlock, while Ward H. Lamon sums 
up his own investigations and the manuscripts of Herndon as prov- 
ing that "Abraham Lincoln was of illegitimate origin and lived 
and died an infidel." When you add to all this the general and 
persistent report prevailing in a dozen different States long before 
the Civil War, during the War, and since the War, and consider 
all this evidence and the circumstances in connection with the proof 
collected by Mr. Cathey, Dr. Coggins, and Mr. Knotts; the positive 
statements by old people who knew Nancy Hanks in Gaston, Ruth- 
erford, and Swain Counties in North Carolina; in Anderson 
County, in South Carolina; and in Carter County, Tennessee — the 
conclusion is irresistible that Abraham Lincoln was of illegitimate 
birth. If he was legitimate, why is it that some man or woman who 
desires to apotheosize or immortalize him, almost every year pro- 
duces a book, or at least a laborious argument, seeking to prove 
that he was of legitimate origin? What was the "skeleton" which 
Herndon avers was in Lincoln's house? What gave him that pe- 
culiar melancholy? What "cancer" had he inside? What was it that 
stamped his face with ineffable sadness throughout his life? Why 
was he so reluctant and averse to speaking about his ancestry? 
Why was it that when any reference was made to his mother he at 
once became reticent and refused to discuss her? What were the 
"ghostly" exposures which Herndon said appeared for the first 
time in the suppressed edition of his book? What were the facts 
which he communicated to Mr. Scripps concerning his ancestry, 
"which he did not want to have published then"? Why was it that 
the friends and admirers of Lincoln in the North suppressed La- 
mon's biography and the first edition of Herndon's biography, and 
sought to buy every outstanding volume for the purpose of destroy- 
ing them? Why did not Ida M. Tarbell include in her four-volume 
Life of Lincoln all of the long affidavit of Dr. Graham, which she 
published in full in her magazine article a short time before, and 
which told the story of the "scandal" about Nancy Hanks and 
Abraham Enloe? Why was it that every entry in the Bible of 
Lincoln's step-mother which might have thrown some light on 
Nancy Hanks, his real mother, was defaced or destroyed, while 
the Bible was in the possession of those only who would have been 

Musings of a Mountaineer 395 

interested in concealing the facts? The answer to these questions 
is found in a principle of law which has come down to us from the 
Roman Civil Law expressed in the Latin Maxim, ff Suppressio Veri, 
Suggestio Falsi", which, being interpreted means, "The suppression 
of the truth is equivalent to the asseveration of a falsehood." 
(22 G J., 115; Hudson v. Jordon, 108 N. C, 12, 13.) And the 
admirers and friends of Lincoln who so palpably suppress the 
truth are in danger of bringing themselves within the condemnation 
of another Maxim borrowed from the Roman law, "Falsus in uno, 
falsus in omnibus" which in plain English means, "False in one 
thing, false in everything." (25 C. J., 662; Black's Law Dic- 



And all these sayings were noised abroad through- 
out the hill country .... And all they that heard 
them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What 
manner of child shall this be? 

Luke, 1: 65 and 66. 

With respect to the second issue proposed, Was Abraham Lin- 
coln the illegitimate son of Senator John C. Calhoun of South 
Carolina, and the Nancy Hanks who was reared in the Carolina 
Mountains? I again assume the burden of proof, because the 
marriage and subsequent cohabitation of Thomas Lincoln and 
Nancy Hanks are sufficient foundation for the presumption that 
Abraham Lincoln was born in lawful wedlock, and that Thomas 
Lincoln was his father. 

The Parentage and Childhood of Abraham Lincoln by Dr. A. L. 
Warren of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the Paternity of Abraham 
Lincoln by Dr. W. E. Barton, of Oak Park, Illinois, are the fairest, 
frankest and most painstakingly written books on the parentage 
and childhood of Lincoln that I have found among the many I 
have read. If their proof fails on any given point, they frankly 
admit it. If their proof is conjectural and uncertain, they say so; 
and if their evidence is evenly balanced on any question, they 
leave it to the reader to form his own conclusions. Both of these 
books will be frequently referred to in the following pages. 

Now let us proceed to locate the real Nancy Hanks, the mother 
of President Lincoln. In order to identify her among the multitude 
of Nancy Hankses who lived in her day, it will be necessary to 
follow a long and devious path. This path begins in Virginia and 
ends in Kentucky, or rather in Indiana. To make the quest more 
certain I shall start at both ends. Like the old darky preacher who, 
when he was making his announcements for the following Sunday, 
said: "On next Sunday mawnin' dey will be preachin' at Eas' 
End, and dey will be preachm' at Wes' End, and dey will baptize 


babies at bofe ends!" Carolina Hanks Hitchcock, in the year 1900, 
published a book entitled "Nancy Hanks." She says at page 25 
that Nancy Hanks was born February 5, 1784, and that she was 
the daughter of Joseph Hanks and Nancy Shipley Hanks, and that 
she was brought to Kentucky by her parents in 1789. Mrs. Hitch- 
cock found at Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky, the will of 
Joseph Hanks, dated January 8, 1793, two years before his death. 
(For copy of will see Warren, pages 301-2) A wife named Nancy, 
five sons, Thomas, Joshua, William, Charles, and Joseph, Jr., and 
three daughters, Elizabeth, Polly, and Nancy, were made bene- 
ficiaries in this will. So far Mrs. Hitchcock is correct; but because 
the above named are the only children of Joseph and Nancy Shipley 
Hanks mentioned in the will, she infers that he had no other 
children, and she concludes that the Nancy Hanks mentioned in the 
will was the mother of Abraham Lincoln. In both these conclusions 
Mrs. Hitchcock is wrong. Mr. Knotts, in his painstaking investiga- 
tion finds that the Nancy Hanks he believes to have been the Presi- 
dent's mother was born on an unnamed date in 1783; that she was 
the daughter of Luke and Ann Hanks, and that about the same 
time that Joseph Hanks carried his daughter Nancy to Nelson 
County, Kentucky, Luke and Ann Hanks brought their Nancy to 
what is now Anderson County, South Carolina. Mr. Knotts found 
that Joseph and Nancy Shipley Hanks had twelve children instead 
of eight, as claimed by Mrs. Hitchcock. According to Mr. Knotts 
there were eight boys, Thomas, Joshua, William, Charles, Joseph, 
Jr., Richard, Luke, and James; and four daughters, Lucy, Mary, 
Elizabeth, and Nancy. Nancy, the daughter of Joseph Hanks, and 
Nancy, the daughter of Luke Hanks, were both born in Amelia 
County, Virginia, at about the same time, but neither of them was 
the mother of Abraham Lincoln. 

Several years ago, the Board of Education of Gaston County, 
with the approval of the Historical Commission of North Carolina, 
appointed Mrs. Minnie Stowe Puett as the official historian of 
Gaston County. Thereafter, in 1919, Mrs. Puett published the 
"History of Gaston County." Mrs. Puett devotes all of Chapter 
XIII to the people who came from Amelia County, Virginia, and 
settled on the Catawba River in what was first Tryon County, 
which later formed Lincoln and Rutherford Counties. Gaston was 
formed from the southern part of Lincoln in 1846. I quote the 
following from Mrs. Puett's History: "Among the Scotch-Irish 

398 Random Thoughts and the 

pioneers of the southern part of the County were a few English 
.... Among those of English stock were the Hankses. Benjamin 
Hanks, the first of the family, so far as is known, to come to this 
country, settled in Massachusetts in 1699. One of his sons, William 
Hanks, came to Virginia. William had twelve children whose de- 
scendants formed a large community in Amelia County. From there 
they again migrated. Part came to what is now Gaston County, 
North Carolina, where some of their descendants are still living 
in Belmont, Dallas, Gastonia, and other places. Others went to 
Kentucky. There is proof that several other English families came 
here with the Hankses or joined them later, afterward going to 
Kentucky, where some of their relatives and friends were already 
making their home. Well-founded tradition says: 'The Lincoln 
and Hanks families were fellow Quakers in Pennsylvania where 
they lived a while before going to Virginia. From there Abraham 
Lincoln, father of Thomas Lincoln, and other emigrants, including 
Hankses, Berrys, and Shipleys (and Mitchells) came to North 
Carolina and settled on the Catawba River. The 1790 census locates 
them in Gaston County, then Lincoln. In the Shipley family were 
six girls, one of whom, Mary Shipley, married Abraham Lincoln, 
father of Thomas Lincoln. Richard Berry married Rachel Shipley, 
another of the Shipleys. Abraham Lincoln and wife had three 
children born in North Carolina: Mordecai, Josiah, and Thomas, 
the husband of Nancy Hanks. Later, Lincoln, with some of the 
Shipleys and Berrys emigrated to Kentucky. There Lincoln and his 
wife had two other children, Mary and Nancy Lincoln/ There are 
many descendants of the Shipley women, of other names, now living 
in Gaston County. A large group of Berrys are buried in the 
Goshen graveyard. One of them, Andrew Berry, was a Revolu- 
tionary soldier. The time the Hankses reached this section is ob- 
scure, but it is known positively that James Hanks was here as 
early as 1779. In that year there is a record of 'Marriage Bonds of 
Tryon and Lincoln Counties, N. C.,' that James Hanks married 
Mary Starrett. He was still living in the County, and was the head 
of a family when the first census was taken in 1790. Richard, or 
'Dicky' Hanks as he was called, was also living in the County and 
was the head of a family at the same time. When the census was 
taken, the names of the two, supposed to have been brothers, were 
listed close together in what was called the 11th Company of Lin- 
coln County in the Morgan District. There is positive proof that 

Musings of a Mountaineer 399 

they lived close together in the South Point section. 'Dicky' Hanks 
was an uncle of Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln. 
She made her home with him on one of the bluffs overlooking the 
Catawba. The site of the cabin was often pointed out to the writer 
by her father, C. T. Stowe, who later came into the possession ot 
the land. It is now owned by a son, Samuel Pinkney Stowe, who 
with another member of the family, erected a marker on the spot. 
It is a massive granite boulder, with a bronze tablet bearing a 
replica of a pioneer cabin and the following inscription: v This 
stone marks the site of the log cabin of Dicky Hanks, an uncle of 
Nancy Hanks, mother of Abraham Lincoln. Nancy spent much of 
her girlhood here with her uncle.' The foundation stones on which 
the boulder was placed were once a part of the chimney of the 
original cabin . . . . C. T. Stowe well knew the story of Nancy 
Hanks' residence here. He learned it from near neighbors of the 
Hankses with whom he was familiar and who knew Dicky and 
Nancy well. One of them was Mathew Leeper, a Revoltuionary 
soldier, who lived near the future site of the Hanks home from 
the time of his birth in 1755 until his death in 1849. Hugh Ewing, 
another Revolutionary soldier, lived close by. He was listed in the 
same census as Dicky Hanks and Samuel Ewing, a son of Hugh 
of Revolutionary fame, who lived barely a stone's throw away . . . 
After the Hankses left the place, Mr. Ewing bought it and moved 
the logs of the Hanks cabin to his own home where they were 
built into a granary. The same logs were again moved by C. T. 
Stowe, who came into possession of the land, for his new home, and 
built it into a house for storing cotton. Again they were moved to 
another site on the C. T. Stowe farm where the cabin stands today, 
a reminder of a bit of history connecting Nancy Hanks, the mother 
of Abraham Lincoln, with the annals of Gaston County." (See 
History of Gaston County, pages 173 to 176, inclusive.) 

A few weeks ago Mr. James W. Atkins, Editor of the Gastonia 
Gazette, and his son, were kind enough to conduct me down to 
Belmont, so that I might see with my own eyes the monument 
erected to the memory of Nancy Hanks and the cabin in which 
she lived as a child. The logs of the cabin are hewn from "heart 
pine", and are perfectly sound to this day. I here offer some evi- 
dence which corroborates Mrs. Puett overwhelmingly. 

John T. Morse, in his Abraham Lincoln, American Statesmen 
Series, speaking of the elder Mordecai Lincoln's sons, at page 5 of 

400 Random Thoughts and the 

Volume I, says: "Of these, Abraham went to North Carolina, 
there married Mary Shipley, and by her had three sons, Mordecai, 
Josiah, and Thomas, who was born in 1778. In 1780, or 1782, as 
it is variously stated, this family moved to Kentucky." 

A short time ago I was in the office of the Secretary of State at 
Raleigh and found on the land records there that on July 31, 1797, 
Richard Hanks filed Entry Number 2699, in Lincoln County, for 
fifty acres of land, calling for Catawba River, and also calling for 
running with his own line to certain other corners, indicating that 
at the time of this entry he owned other lands, which the entry 
called for. These "other" lands were the lands on which the cabin 
stood, which I have heretofore described. From the same record I 
found that Thomas Hanks entered ten acres of land on the South 
Fork of Catawba on January 11, 1800. This Thomas Hanks, 
according to the tradition around Belmont, was another brother of 
Richard Hanks, and the son of Joseph Hanks, who died in Nelson 
County, Kentucky. 

So here are three brothers, all sons of Joseph Hanks, Sr., and 
Nancy Shipley Hanks, who settled in what is now Gaston County, 
North Carolina. But these three brothers are not the only children 
of Joseph Hanks who came with the other colonists to settle on 
the Catawba. A sister came also, and her name was Lucy Hanks, 
and she brought with her two little illegitimate girls, Nancy and 
Mandy. All three of them were living (during the childhood of 
Nancy and Mandy) with "Uncle Dicky" Hanks in the little log 
cabin on the bluffs above the Catawba near Belmont. Solicitor 
Ridings, speaking of the written history which his grand-father 
compiled regarding Nancy Hanks, in his affidavit says: "He hung 
Nancy Hanks on the Tanner family tree, claiming that Michael 
Tanner was the father of Nancy, by Lucy Hanks." (Coggins, 47, 
48, 65, and 99.) Coggins says that this Michael Tanner was the 
Virginian that Abraham Lincoln had in mind when he told Hern- 
don that his mother "was the daughter of Lucy Hanks and a well- 
bred but obscure Virginia planter." 

We next find Dicky, Lucy, Nancy, and Mandy Hanks in the 
neighborhood of Rutherfordton, in Rutherford County. Dr. Cog- 
gins says: "Nancy was first known in the community about Ruth- 
erfordton as a little girl going about over the country with her 
mother, Lucy Hanks, who carried a little spinning wheel under her 
arm and spun flax for a living. They stayed a while at 'Granny' 



Musings of a Mountaineer 401 

Hollifield's, and also at Mr. Weber's. They were very poor. *Dicky' 
Hanks, the uncle of Nancy (and Mandy), was supposed to pro- 
vide a living for them, but he was a drunken and shiftless sort of 
fellow, and Lucy Hanks and her little girls, Nancy and Mandy, 
were thrown upon the mercy of the community. The people were 
very kind to them and not only gave them the customary price for 
work, but were glad to supplement this with little gifts and dona- 
tions which were likely to add to their comfort and happiness. 
Going into a community they would make their home with one 
family until they had finished their work in that community." 
(Coggins, 4-5.) 

At Rutherford ton, because Dicky Hanks spent all his earnings 
for liquor, he was put in jail and was compelled to make shoes, the 
proceeds of which were used for the benefit of Lucy Hanks and her 
children. (Coggins, 150.) And then the children were "bound out", 
Abraham Enloe taking Nancy when she was about ten years old, 
and a Mr. Pratt taking Mandy (Coggins, 100, 151; Cathey, 235, 
236) . Mandy when grown, married Samuel Henson, who moved 
to the west of the Blue Ridge, and their descendants still live in 
Haywood and Jackson Counties. (Cathey, 236.) About the year 
1803, Abraham Enloe sold certain of his farms in Rutherford 
County, and moved to Ocona Lufty River in what is now Swain 
County, carrying with him his family, including Nancy Hanks. At 
about the time Nancy and Mandy Hanks were bound out, *Uncle 
Dicky Hanks was burned to death in a house that was destroyed 
by fire. About the same time Lucy Hanks migrated to Kentucky. 
The exact date of her departure from North Carolina is not known, 
but it was not later than 1789, for on November 24, 1789, the 
Grand Jury of Mercer County, Kentucky, brought in an indictment 
charging her with fornication and adultery. (Warren, 62.) April 3, 
1791, this same Lucy Hanks married Henry Sparrow. (Warren, 
29.) After clearing his farm, and building his home on Ocona 
Lufty, Abraham Enloe became a merchant and a "stock-drover". 
"Abraham Enloe was a large stock-dealer for his day. It was his 
custom to drive annually horses, mules, and cattle to southern 
markets, and by this and the acquisition of large tracts of land and 
the slave trade, he accumulated considerable means and established 
a reputation at home and in the marts of the South, for preeminent 
judgment, and far-reaching business acumen. (Cathey, 137, 245.) 
Berry H. Melton, his nephew, who lived at the time and often 

402 Random Thoughts and the 

visited Abraham Enloe in his home, stated to Dr. Coggins: "Here 
(on Ocona Lufty), he built a house, and made this place his per- 
manent home. He became well-off. He bought and sold slaves, 
'raised mules, and was considered the leading man of the com- 
munity. His wagon made annual trips to Augusta and Charleston, 
for salt, sugar, coffee, and other necessary articles." (Coggins, 
154, 155.) 

I will now ask you to take a trip with me to South Carolina, 
where we next find Nancy Hanks. Mr. D. J. Knotts has already 
been referred to in the preceding chapter as the author of the four 
articles in the Columbia State, in which he sought to prove that 
Abraham Lincoln was the illegitimate son of John C. Calhoun and 
a Nancy Hanks of South Carolina. Mr. Knotts also wrote Dr. 
Barton ten letters which are printed in Dr. Barton's "Paternity 
of Abraham Lincoln", a large volume of 414 pages; and Mr. 
Knotts' ten letters cover thirty-four pages of this book. As this book 
is more easily obtained than typewritten copies from the Columbia 
State, and as the letters in Dr. Barton's book contain all the evi- 
dence collected by Mr. Knotts, I shall hereafter cite the reader to 
the book rather than to the newspaper articles. These letters cover 
pages 113 to 146 inclusive of the Barton book aforementioned. Mr. 
Knotts tells us that in a community known as "Ebenezer" about 
half way between Anderson and Abbeville, South Carolina, there 
one time lived a large family by the name of Hanks. The head of 
this family was Luke Hanks and his wife was named Ann. Mr. 
Knotts says that this Luke Hanks was the youngest son of Joseph 
and Nancy Shipley Hanks, and that Luke, and two of his brothers, 
James and John, came from Amelia County Virginia, to what is 
now Anderson County, South Carolina; but that, later, James and 
John migrated to Kentucky. In this last statement Mr. Knotts is 
mistaken. James Hanks, the brother of Luke, may have come to 
South Carolina with Luke, but he afterwards settled in what is 
now Gaston County, North Carolina, and there married Mary 
Starrett, reared a family, and there died. His descendants live in 
Gaston County today. Joseph Hanks did not have a son named 
John. Mr. Knotts accepts as the children of Joseph and Nancy 
Shipley Hanks the list of children mentioned in the will of Joseph 
Hanks, and claimed by Mrs. Hitchcock to be his only children, 
and then adds Lucy, Richard, James, and Luke to make up the list 
of twelve which he contends was the correct number. Luke Hanks 

Musings of a Mountaineer 403 

died in 1789, in South Carolina, leaving a will by which all of his 
property was devised to his wife. 

During the year 1807, and prior thereto, Ann Hanks owned and 
operated a tavern at a cross-roads village called Craytonville, about 
the half-way distance between Anderson and Abbeville. This tavern 
was subsequently owned and operated by the father of Judge 
James L. Orr, and the illustrious son was probably reared in this 
tavern. In 1849, while John C. Calhoun and General Burt were in 
Congress from South Carolina, this same Judge Orr, already 
elected, but not yet having commenced his service, went to Wash- 
ington to acquaint himself with the operations of the body over 
which he was destined to preside as Speaker in the 35 th Congress. 
He was a member of Congress continuously from 1849 till 1859. 
While there on the visit referred to, he saw Abraham Lincoln, who 
was then finishing his single term from Illinois, and he was so 
deeply impressed by the striking resemblance of Lincoln to the men 
of the Hanks family in Anderson County, South Carolina, among 
whom he had grown up, that he sought an introduction, and 
mentioned this remarkable resemblance; and Lincoln replied by 
saying that his mother's name was Nancy Hanks. Judge Orr then 
sought to pursue the discussion, but Lincoln, following his life- 
long custom when his mother's name was mentioned, drew about 
him his cloak of reserve, refused to answer questions, and walked 
away. So greatly was Judge Orr's curiosity aroused that when he 
returned to Anderson he went to see the members of the Hanks 
family at Ebenezer, and in all of its details they told him the story 
of John C. Calhoun's connection with Nancy Hanks and her re- 
moval from the State in the early part of the nineteenth century. 
And this, briefly, is the story they told: John C. Calhoun at that 
time lived in what was known as the "Pendleton District", his 
residence being at Abbeville, and had just begun the practice of the 
law. As he traveled to and from his Courts, it was his custom to< 
stop at the old tavern in Craytonville, kept by Ann Hanks, the 
widow of Nancy Hanks' Uncle Luke. The will of Luke Hanks was 
dated May 17, 1789, and was probated in Abbeville County October 
7, 1789, and Luke died some time between the aforementioned 
dates. (Barton, 401, 402.) Here at this old tavern John C. Calhoun 
and Nancy Hanks became involved in an illicit love affair, and, 
when Nancy's condition became known, the Hanks clan called 
upon Calhoun for reparation. They met at the old tavern, Calhoun 

404 Random Thoughts and the 

being present in person, and Nancy also being present in person, 
and represented by the men and women of the Hanks family; 
thereupon both Calhoun and Nancy Hanks confessed their sin, 
both of them acknowledging that Calhoun was the father of 
Nancy's unborn child. Calhoun agreed to pay Nancy five hundred 
dollars to enable her to leave the country, so that the scandal might 
not hurt him, with the understanding that Nancy was to have time 
in which to communicate with a relative then living in Tennessee 
to whose home she desired to go. (Barton, 122, 133.) The Hanks 
family also told Judge Orr that on this particular occasion Abraham 
Enloe, who was on his way South from Ocona Lufty, North Caro- 
lina, with negroes and stock for sale, spent the night at the Hanks 
tavern, which was directly on the route from Ocona Lufty to 
Augusta and Charleston. With Enloe, as a hired hand, was Thomas 
Lincoln, and following the settlement of the difficulty with Nancy, 
Calhoun hired this Thomas Lincoln for a paid consideration of five 
hundred dollars to take Nancy on his return trip with Abraham 
Enloe to North Carolina. Mr. Knotts says also that the Hankses 
told Judge Orr that Nancy went from South Carolina with Enloe 
and Lincoln and that little Abe was born on the way and was sub- 
sequently taken to Kentucky. (Barton, 122.) 

Judge Orr was a great man in South Carolina and the Nation. 
He was for ten years a Member of Congress and was Speaker of 
the House of Representatives in the 35th Congress. He was Gov- 
ernor of South Carolina, and in 1870 President Grant appointed 
him Ambassador to Russia. He died in St. Petersburg in 1872. Mr. 
J. B. Lewis, an old gentleman of Anderson, told Mr. Knotts that 
he was for years Secretary of the Masonic Lodge at Anderson, and 
while he was preparing Judge Orr's credentials to carry with him 
to St. Petersburg the Judge talked freely to his brethren in the 
Lodge about the Calhoun-Nancy Hanks story hereinbefore recited, 
and there declared that he had so fully investigated it that he was 
fully satisfied of its truth. (Barton, 122.) Judge Orr also stated 
that General Armistead Burt, who married Calhoun's niece, was 
in possession of the facts, and that in the privacy of his own home 
he gave the details, in confidence, to a group of young lawyers, 
who in after years repeated the story to others. (Barton, 121.) Judge 
Orr was the brother-in-law of Mrs. Fannie Marshall, a second 
cousin of John C. Calhoun. He told her and her husband what he 
had learned from the Hanks family, and they admitted the truth 

Musings of a Mountaineer 405 

of the story, the Hanks family having also told the facts to Dr. 
W. C. Brown, the brother of Joe Brown, the "War Governor" of 

Mr. Knotts requested Mrs. A. C. Latimer, widow of South Caro- 
lina's Senator, A. C. Latimer, to procure for him a statement from 
her mother, who, after the death of Dr. Brown had married a Mr. 
Byrd. She was in declining health, but furnished the signed state- 
ment which is in part as follows: "In 1856 I married Dr. W. C. 
Brown, of Belton. Very shortly after my removal to my new home 
(in Anderson County, S. G), Uncle Johnnie Hanks, a patron, 
came to Dr. Brown for medicine for some of his family. Dr. 
Brown in my presence asked him was there any good ground for 
all this talk about Calhoun and Lincoln? The old gentleman 
replied very decidedly, *I am sorry to tell you, Doctor, there is' ... . 
When the family found out that Nancy had sinned and gone astray, 
she asked to be allowed to stay till she could get away to her 
Uncle's, as best I remember, in Tennessee; that Calhoun had 
promised her $500.00 to take her away where it would not hurt 
him .... Just at this time Thomas Lincoln appeared, with Enloe, 
as helper with horses, and solved the trouble. He became the scape- 
goat for Calhoun's sins." (Barton, 133, 134, and 116, 117.) 

There is another version of the Calhoun tradition which I here 
offer in support of the truth of Mr. Knotts' investigation, but 
which differs from it in one unessential detail. In 1921 and 1922, 
the Rhodolite Company of New York as the lessee of my client, 
the Carolina Abrasives Company, constructed a large mining plant 
on the property of the last named Company in Jackson County, 
North Carolina. The engineer of the Rhodolite Company was Cap- 
tain R. S. Perry, a native of Rhode Island, and brother of Bishop 
Perry of the Episcopal Church. He owned a large plantation and 
Colonial Mansion at Cave Springs, Georgia, but maintained his 
principal Engineering offices in New York City. I have visited him 
a number of times in his Georgia home and in his New York 
quarters and offices, and he has spent many days and nights in my 
home. He was a chemist of very high reputation, and he discovered, 
during the World War, a perfect counter-actant or antidote for 
the deadly gas that was then being used by the Germans. Our War 
Department having been fully convinced of the efficacy of this 
discovery, the Government spent many millions of dollars in the 
construction, under Captain Perry's supervision, of three separate 

406 Random Thoughts and the 

plants for the manufacture of this product. Captain Perry was a 
great admirer of Lincoln, and I had him read Mr. Cathey's book, 
"The Genesis of Lincoln", which presents the theory that Lincoln 
was the illegitimate son of Abraham Enloe and Nancy Hanks. 
Some time after Captain Perry left this section, he wrote me, in his 
own hand-writing, a letter, which I still have in my files, and in this 
he said a hardware salesman had spent the previous week-end with 
him in his New York quarters. On Sunday morning one of the 
New York papers carried an article touching Lincoln's origin and 
childhood, and while discussing this article Captain Perry told this 
salesman the substance of Mr. Cathey's book, to which he replied 
that Mr. Cathey was mistaken as to the paternity of Lincoln; that 
his father was John C. Calhoun, the salesman further stating in 
this connection that he was a direct descendant — a great-grandson 
of Calhoun. He said that it had always been definitely understood 
by each succeeding generation of the Calhoun family that Lincoln 
was the son of the old Senator by Nancy Hanks. He told Captain 
Perry substantially the same story as that written by Mr. Knotts, 
as hereinbefore related, but he said he had understood that Calhoun 
lived with his mother at or near Abbeville, and that the family, 
desiring to have the services of a white servant girl, Calhoun, 
knowing Nancy Hanks at Craytonville, induced her to go to the 
Calhoun home at Abbeville, or perhaps to the home of his brother- 
in-law, Dr. Waddell, under whose instruction Calhoun had been 
prepared to enter college. But that, whatever the place, while Nancy 
was there Calhoun got her into trouble. When Nancy's condition 
became known, she was required to leave, and upon her return to 
Craytonville the settlement with Calhoun followed, and she was 
sent to North Carolina. For my purpose it makes no difference 
whether the trouble occurred in the home of Nancy's Aunt Ann 
Hanks at Craytonville, or in the Calhoun home at Abbeville. The 
main point involved in this discussion is whether John C. Calhoun 
was the father of Abraham Lincoln. I have heard a story of a group 
of prominent negroes standing on the sidewalk engaged in a heated 
argument as to whether the Scriptures say that Solomon visited the 
Queen of Sheba, or the Queen visited Solomon. Failing to agree 
they decided to leave it to the first man passing by, who happened 
to be the colored preacher. They submitted the controverted ques- 
tion to him and he replied: "Bredren, for lo, dese many yeahs, I'se 
been ponderin' over dat question my own se'f, but I never is been 

Musings of a Mountaineer 407 

able to satisfy my own min' as to whedder Solomon visit de Queen 
or de Queen visit Solomon; but dey is one 'elusion dat I is been 
able to reach dat is satis factionary to my own min', and dat is 
dat dey sho' wuz some visitin' done!" 

Another incident of considerable weight, related to Captain 
Perry by this descendant of Calhoun, was that he had a great-aunt 
who had lived in Charleston. As a girl she attended a school in 
Illinois and had a school-mate from Springfield who was a friend 
and admirer of Lincoln. These girls formed a friendship which 
lasted through their lives. Sometime after the War between the 
States this Springfield lady visited her girl-hood friend in Char- 
leston. Upon going down to see the old Slave Market near which 
stands a large statue of John C. Calhoun, the Springfield lady 
exclaimed: "I had always understood that Charleston and all of 
South Carolina were hot-beds of rebellion. I never dreamed that 
either would erect, or permit to be erected within its borders a life- 
size statue of Lincoln!" To which the Charleston lady, a grand- 
daughter of Calhoun, replied: "That is not a statue of Abraham 
Lincoln, but of his father, John C. Calhoun." I have heard of other 
members of Calhoun's family, nephews, nieces, and grand-children, 
as making substantially the same statement as that made to Captain 
Perry by a great-grandson of the illustrious Senator, but have been 
unable to obtain them in concrete form. 

I have in my files a statement dictated to me at my sister's home 
in Whiteside Cove in Jackson County, on the morning of May 25, 
1941, by Mr. H. C. Miller, a prominent lawyer of Anderson, South 

I have been told by citizens both of North and South Carolina, 
that Mr. Miller is one of the ablest lawyers in his State today. 

In order that the reader may be in better position to form an 
estimate of his character and the weight to be given his statement, 
I here call attention to the fact that Mr. Miller's grandfather on 
his mother's side was the Honorable Harry Pinkney Walker, who 
for many years (including the period covered by the War between 
the States) the British Consul at the Port of Charleston, South 
Carolina. He was also one of the Counsellors of the Court of 
Queen's Bench in England in the Reign of Queen Victoria. Mr. 
Miller's grandfather on his father's side was Dr. H. C. Miller, 
an eminent physician in his day, of Pendleton. South Carolina, and 
Mr. Miller's father was Washington Miller, a prominent South 

408 Random Thoughts and the 

Carolina citizen, who was usually known as "Watt" Miller. Ressie 
E. Miller was the daughter of the above named, Dr. H. C. Miller, 
and the sister of "Watt" Miller, and therefore the aunt of the 
Mr. Miller who dictated the aforementioned statement to me. 
Ressie E. Miller married Judge John J. Hook, and they lived many 
years at or near Fort Hill (now Clemson College) , South Carolina, 
where John C. Calhoun's mansion is situated, and where the old 
Senator resided when he was not in Washington. Mrs. Hook's 
grand- father on her mother's side was Zachariah Tolliver, who 
came from Virginia, and settled first at Rutherfordton, North 
Carolina, but in 1789, settled at Pendleton, South Carolina, where 
the Courthouse of the Pendleton District was situated. This Mr. 
Tolliver was a lawyer of great ability, a contemporary of John C. 
Calhoun, and they, with General Armistead Burt, and others, 
"rode the Circuit" together, attending the Courts of the -different 
Districts. The Mrs. Hook above referred to was a highly educated 
lady, and was said to have been the best authority on local history 
in upper South Carolina. She died in 1934, at the age of eighty- 
eight years, and was buried in the cemetery of the Episcopal Church 
in Pendleton. 

Mr. Miller dictated the statement to me that his aunt, Mrs. 
Hook, had often told him the story of John C. Calhoun's illicit 
love affair with Nancy Hanks, as it had been repeatedly related 
to her by her brother, "Watt" Miller, and her father, Dr. H. C. 
Miller. The story was that Anne Hanks kept a tavern at the 
village of Craytonville, halfway between Anderson and Abbeville, 
South Carolina. In connection with the tavern Anne Hanks 
operated a bar, and she had in her employ, as bar-maid, her niece, 
Nancy Hanks; that Calhoun, with other lawyers and Judges often 
stopped at this tavern for the night or for the noon-day meal. In 
the meantime, Calhoun became enamored of Nancy Hanks, and 
the trouble followed, resulting in the birth of a boy child to Nancy, 
to whom she gave the name of Abraham, and that this boy was 
later known as Abraham Lincoln. 

Mrs. Hook also said that after Nancy's condition became known 
it was arranged that she should leave the State, and a stock-driver 
from North Carolina, by the name of Abraham Enloe, who had a 
hired man with him by the name of Thomas Lincoln, were spend- 
ing the night at the Hanks Tavern, and conveyed Nancy back to 
North Carolina 

Musings of a Mountaineer 409 

Mrs. Miller, the wife of H. C. Miller, was present on the oc- 
casion when he dictated the aforementioned statement, and she 
said that on repeated occasions Mrs. Hook had related the same 
facts to her, as she had to her husband, also. Mrs. Miller also said 
that Mrs. Fannie Marshall, the second cousin of John C. Calhoun, 
and sister-in-law of Judge James L. Orr, told her the same story, 
in all its details, as related to her by Mrs. Hook. 

Mr. Miller stated that his grand-father, Dr. H. C. Miller, and 
John C. Calhoun were life-long intimate friends, often visiting in 
each other's homes, and that on the occasion of one of his return 
trips from Washington to his home, Calhoun brought with him 
a steel engraving of himself which he gave to Dr. Miller, which 
he kept and prized until his death, when the members of his family 
gave it to the ladies composing the society that has charge of the 
Calhoun Mansion at Clemson, and the engraving has since been 
hanging on the walls of the reception room in that mansion. On a 
recent visit to the Calhoun Mansion I saw the engraving with my 
own eyes. 

Mr. Miller told me that he was the youngest child in a family 
of eight. When his father died Mr. Miller was unable to finish 
his college course, so he went to New York to work for an older 
brother. Patrick Calhoun, the grand-son of John C. Calhoun, was 
a very wealthy man, and was at that time residing in New York 
City. He and Mr. Miller's father, "Watt" Miller, had been life- 
long and intimate friends, as Dr. H. C. Miller and John C. Cal- 
houn had been. One day Mr. "Pat" Calhoun, as he was called, 
came to see Mr. Miller and told him that on account of his affec- 
tion for his deceased father he desired, at his own expense, to send 
him (H. C. Miller) through the University of Virginia, and then 
assist him through law school. Mr. Miller accepted this generous 
offer, and accordingly attended that University for one year. In 
the meanwhile Mr. Calhoun, on account of some financial re- 
verses, could not assist Mr. Miller further, but he obtained a legal 
education on his own account, and thereafter developed into the 
very able lawyer that I know him to be today. He also dictated 
the statement to me that on one occasion Mr. Patrick Calhoun told 
him that his grand-father, John C. Calhoun, was the father of 
Abraham Lincoln by a girl of the name of Nancy Hanks. He told 
Mr. Miller that he and his family were not proud of the fact, but 
that it was an admitted and well established fact, recognized by 

410 Random Thoughts and the 

the Calhoun family, that Abraham Lincoln was the illegitimate 
child of Nancy Hanks and his grand-father, John C. Calhoun. 
He told Mr. Miller that the Calhoun family had endeavored to 
prevent the publication of the affair, but that the facts could not 
be disputed or denied. Mr. Miller assured me that if I would 
again visit Anderson I could find numerous witnesses to verify 
the foregoing statements of the members of the Calhoun family 
and their intimate friends, but in view of the convincing evidence 
already presented, other statements would be merely cumulative 
and therefore unnecessary. 

Mr. William H. Abernathy, one of the rapidly rising young 
lawyers of Charlotte is a native of South Carolina, and was edu- 
cated at Clemson College. Under date of June 19, 1941, Mr. Aber- 
nathy wrote me a letter which I have in my files, and from which 
I quote the following: "During the years 1917 to 1921 I was a 
student at Clemson College, South Carolina, and was graduated 
in the Class of 1921. The College is located on the former planta- 
tion of John C. Calhoun, and the dormitories are within a stone's 
throw of the old Calhoun Mansion, which was the home of John 
C. Calhoun during the latter part of his life. The proximity of 
the Calhoun Mansion naturally stimulated the interest of the 
students in matters pertaining to his life and history. One subject 
of frequent discussion among the students was the report that 
John C. Calhoun was the father of Abraham Lincoln. Among 
my associates in the student body this report was generally ac- 
cepted as true. I was informed by some students who studied his- 
tory under Professor A. G. Holmes, who has been for many years 
head of the history department at Clemson, that Professor Holmes, 
in discussing this matter in the class room, expressed his belief 
that the report is true." 

I asked Mr. Abernathy to write Professor Holmes and request a 
statement from him. Professor Holmes replied under date of June 
24th. Mr. Abernathy gave his letter to me. Among other things, 
Professor Holmes made the following statement, which I quote: 
"This has been a legend of many years' standing (the Calhoun 
paternity of Lincoln) in Abbeville and Anderson Counties. I have 
known a number of people from these sections who accept it as 
a fact." 

Honorable Thomas G. Clemson was John C. Calhoun's son-in- 
law. His private library is in the possession of Clemson College. 

Musings of a Mountaineer 411 

It has, for a long time, been rumored that in that library there are 
documents that prove beyond all peradventure that John C. Cal- 
houn was the father of Abraham Lincoln by Nancy Hanks. The 
rumor also is that these documents are not open to the public, and 
that, notwithstanding such rumor, no one has been heard to deny 
the existence of the documents referred to. If you ask me why? my 
answer is that Echo answers Why? 

I have no positive proof as to how Nancy Hanks reached South 
Carolina after Abraham Enloe brought her, with the rest of his 
family, from Rutherford to the new home on Ocona Lufty. That 
he did so bring her to his new home with his family is a fact as 
well established as any fact can be proved by human testimony. But 
the logical inference is that she had gone with Enloe on one of his 
trading trips to Charleston or Augusta, with live-stock and slaves, 
and Craytonville was directly on the route leading from Swain 
County to these markets. 

Mr. Knotts tells of a Court proceeding in Anderson County 
brought in 1842, by Valentine Davis and his wife Jane, against all 
the heirs of Luke and Ann Hanks for the purpose of selling her 
lands for a division of the proceeds among the heirs, Jane Davis 
being one of them. On account of a defect in this proceeding it was 
dismissed and another one brought. Dr. Barton, after much trouble, 
procured the list of heirs mentioned in both suits, copies of such lists 
appearing at pages 222 to 224 of his book, Paternity of Lincoln. 
Dr. Barton said these lists come from Judgment Roll Number 286 
in the office of Probate (now Clerk of the Circuit Court) of 
Anderson County, South Carolina. When I read of this proceeding 
I went to Anderson and copied the record myself. But the Judg- 
ment Roll I found was number 964. The list of heirs given numbers 
fifty-six in all of three lists, twenty-seven of whom are named as 
nonresidents of the State, and the names do not correspond. There 
are some by the name of Haynie, some by the name of South, but 
most of them were Hankses. Among the Hankses were the names 
of Mary Hanks, Lucinda Hanks, Elizabeth Hanks, Nancy A. 
Hanks, and Nancy Hanks. This is as the names appear in the orig- 
inal summons, which was returned "not served" as to twenty-seven 
of the defendants, including the five last above mentioned; but a 
rule to show cause was issued against the same twenty-seven de- 
fendants, naming them as nonresidents, and the Lucinda Hanks 
mentioned in the summons is referred to, in the rule to show cause, 

412 Random Thoughts and the 

simply as "Lucy" Hanks. The Nancy A. Hanks mentioned in these 
proceedings was the youngest child of Luke and Ann Hanks. Mr. 
Knotts believed her to have been the mother of President Lincoln. 
This could not be so, for this Nancy Hanks, as shown by the rec- 
ords, married a man by the name of South and by him reared a 
large family. I think Mr. Knotts was led into this error because he 
found Lucy, Mary, Elizabeth, and Nancy in the list, those being 
the names of the four daughters of Luke's brother Joseph Hanks 
of Virginia and Kentucky. Mr. Knotts entirely lost sight of the last 
Nancy Hanks mentioned in this record, who was the niece of Luke 
Hanks. I maintain that the last named Nancy was the illegitimate 
child of Joseph Hanks' daughter Lucy, of Amelia County, Vir- 
ginia, who lived with her mother and Uncle T)icky' in Gaston and 
Rutherford Counties, North Carolina, and was taken by Abraham 
Enloe to Swain County, then to Anderson County, South Carolina, 
where she had the trouble with Calhoun, and was then taken back 
to North Carolina by Abraham Enloe and Thomas Lincoln. 

We next find Nancy Hanks in Abraham Enloe's home on Ocona 
Lufty, in Swain County, North Carolina, and she was about to 
become a mother, and then the trouble began. Of course, Mrs. Enloe 
was jealous, as so clearly proven by Cathey and Coggins. Nancy 
Hanks had been reared in her home from the time she was eight or 
ten years of age; but now she was a full grown woman and fine- 
looking. As already stated, Enloe was making these frequent trips 
to South Carolina. Nancy had come home with him in this delicate 
condition. No doubt Thomas Lincoln, Enloe, and even Nancy had 
all told Mrs. Enloe that Calhoun had acknowledged that he was the 
father of Nancy's unborn child, and had paid Nancy five hundred 
dollars to leave South Carolina, and had paid Lincoln an additional 
five hundred dollars as the consideration for bringing her back to 
North Carolina. But the circumstantial evidence was too strong 
for Mrs. Enloe, and it all pointed strongly to her husband's guilt. 
Nothing but the removal of Nancy would satisfy her, and her hus- 
band began to take active steps for Nancy's removal. Several of the 
witnesses introduced by Mr. Cathey and Dr. Coggins say that Felix 
Walker, the first Congressman from the Carolina Mountains, and 
a great friend of Abraham Enloe, brought Nancy to his home in 
Haywood County, six miles North from Waynesville, where she 
stayed until her child was born. Several of the witnesses say that 
the child was born at Enloe's home on Ocona Lufty; others say 

Musings of a Mountaineer 413 

that he was born at the Walker home in Haywood County, while 
Dr. Coggins contends, and offers evidence tending to show that he 
was born at the old Enloe homestead in Rutherford County, then 
occupied by a tenant. This place was not sold by Enloe until Oc- 
tober 25, 1807, when he sold it to one Mark Byrd. (See Book 29-31, 
at page 115 Record of Deeds, Rutherford County.) Ever since 
Lincoln was nominated for President this place has been known as 
"Lincoln Hill". It is said that, after Nancy was removed from 
Enloe's home, the neighbors, not knowing just what had become of 
her, began to suspect that Lincoln had killed her and there was 
considerable talk of lynching him. (Coggins, 27, 66.) But Felix 
Walker had Michael Tanner, her alleged father, to bring Nancy 
and her child by his house and then on to Enloe's home to satisfy 
the angry neighbors. (Coggins, 26, 27.) But the problem was not 
yet solved. Nancy and her child were now back in the home of 
Abraham Enloe, and Mrs. Enloe, naturally feeling that "distance 
lends enchantment to the view", insisted upon their complete re- 
moval. Thomas Lincoln had performed his contract with Calhoun 
by bringnig Nancy to North Carolina. He had earned his five hun- 
dred dollars and his obligation had been fully discharged. So 
Abraham Enloe contracted with Thomas Lincoln to take Nancy 
and her child, Abraham, beyond the boundaries of North Carolina, 
marry Nancy, and assume the paternity of her child, agreeing to 
pay him for this service five hundred dollars in money, a wagon 
and a pair of mules. (Coggins, 42, 142, 158; Cathey, 236.) Both 
Mr. Cathey and Dr. Coggins offer evidence which tends to prove 
that a Mrs. Thompson, Enloe's married daughter, took Nancy 
and her child home with her to Kentucky. I think the evidence is 
sufficient to prove that Mrs. Thompson did assist in the removal, 
but the greater weight of the evidence is that Nancy, little Abra- 
ham, and Thomas Lincoln stopped for a considerable time in 
Tennessee before going to Kentucky. Mr. J. P. Arthur in his His- 
tory of Western North Carolina says at pages 322-323: "The 
lady referred to by Colonel Davidson was a visitor in the home of 
Felix Walker, one of whose sons she afterwards married; and it 
was while there, according to her statement to her niece, that she 
had seen Abraham Enloe call Felix Walker to the gate and talk 
earnestlv with him, and when Mr. Walker returned to the house 
he told Mrs. Walker that Enloe had arranged with him (Walker) 
to have Nancy taken to Tennessee instead of Kentucky, and that 

414 Random Thoughts and the 

thereupon Mrs. Walker remarked that Mrs. Enloe would be 
"happy again". Mr. J. P. Arthur, author of History of Western 
North Carolina, gave Mr. Knotts the information in 1911, that 
a daughter of Abraham Enloe, when she was quite old, made the 
statement twenty-five years before, that she could well remember, 
back when she was eight or ten years old, there was a young girl 
by the name of Nancy Hanks and a young child in her father's 
home, and that an old colored woman who was formerly one of 
Enloe's slaves, asserted that when she was nearly grov/n there was 
a young girl by the name of Hanks and her baby in her master's 
home, and that it caused "Old Mis' much trouble." This old lady 
also asserted that her oldest sister, Nancy, who had married a John 
Thompson, took Nancy Hanks home with her to Tennessee. Mr. 
Knotts found that this John Thompson owned a tract of land in 
Carter County, Tennessee, and that the records there show that he 
sold this land in 1809. J. J. Enloe, who died only a few months 
ago, was the son of Wesley Enloe, and the grandson of Abraham 
Enloe. He was my brother-in-law, we having married sisters. Upon 
the death of his father he succeeded to the ownership of the old 
Abraham Enloe home farm, and there reared his family. He told 
Mr. Knotts that he remembered his father's sister, Polly Mingus, 
who often spoke of her knowledge of the residence of Nancy Hanks 
and her child in her brother's home. Mr. Enloe also told Mr. Knotts 
that "Aunt Millie", a very old negro woman, who had been hi« 
grand-father's slave and had told his father and mother (Wesley 
Enloe and wife) that she knew the young girl Nancy Hanks well, 
and that it (she) caused "Old Mis' a heap of trouble." (Barton, 
122, 123.) Haywood County was formed in 1808. In the office of 
the Clerk of the Superior Court of that County, there appears in 
the old record of "Administrators' Accounts and Settlements" the 
report of the settlement of Abraham Enloe's estate. As it appears 
on this record Nancy Enloe Thompson is named as a nonresident 
of the State, and there is a record of sixteen negroes, and one is 
listed as "Millie", and described as "active, heatry, and intelligent, 
but old." 

Now let us locate Thomas Lincoln in the State of Tennessee. 
Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to John Chrisham in 1860 says: "My 
grand- father's Christian name was Abraham." He had four brothers 
—Isaac, Jacob, John, and Thomas. (Warren, page 3.) Again he 

Musings of a Mountaineer 415 

said: "He (my grand-father) had three sons: Mordecai, Josiah, 
and Thomas, the last my father." (Warren, 38.) 

John T. Morse, in his Abraham Lincoln, American Statesmen 
Series, speaking of the elder of Mordecai Lincoln's sons, at page 5 
of Volume I, says: "Of these, Abraham went to North Carolina, 
there married Mary Shipley, and by her had three sons, Mordecai, 
Josiah, and Thomas, who was born in 1778. In 1780 or 1782, as it 
is variously stated, this family moved to Kentucky. There, one day 
in 1784, the father, at his labor in the field, was shot by lurking 
Indians. His